36" x 24" acrylic on canvas
Vancouver Island is blessed with abundant forests. Their lushness can lull us into taking them for granted and, thus, risking their loss through mismanagement or misunderstandings of their value. I know, I know. I live in a wood-frame house but what sometimes is not acknowledged is the rich asset our forests are— the benefits they provide— if just left standing in place. From my experience, living beside and somewhat within a shrinking forest, I’ve witnessed when forest cover is removed, things change. For example, I have a small stream running through my property; its source is from higher lands above me. Since the removal of that forest cover, my stream has flowed faster and deeper, with increasing stream bank erosion than in previous years and now dries up almost entirely during our increasing summer droughts—two undesirable changes. These water-flow extremes did not happen in years prior to the forest’s removal. Of course, it’s more complex than that, and my observations are casual, not scientific, but that complexity of natural forests, hydrology and impacts of removal on fisheries begs a better appreciation and more thought when evaluating the consequences of forest removal. Of course it’s so easy to say and so hard to do, i.e., to find a sustainable balance of interests. It’s for this personal contemplation that I’ve named this painting, “Ode to an Island Forest”.