Tree-sitting as an act of protest is much older – and more current – than Julia Butterfly Hill’s successful two-year occupation of a 600-year-old tree in Humboldt County, California. In the 1970s, the first tree-sitters saved the forest that became Pureora National Park in New Zealand. And for the past year in British Columbia on First Nation territory, nearly 500 people have been arrested while protesting to protect Fairy Creek, where some of Canada’s last remaining ancient forests grow. What Is Old Growth Forest? After Hill’s victory, most Americans believed the question of old-growth protection was settled. But the reality is much more complicated. In large part that is because there is no universally agreed-upon definition for “old growth.” The term originated in the 1970s among researchers to describe complex, biodiverse forests at least 150 years old. The province of British Columbia, Canada, defines old growth variably . Coastal forests are old growth if they contain trees that are more than 250 years old, while forests in B.C.’s interior forests need only be 140 years old. Many environmentalists mean any forest that has never been logged when they refer to old growth forest. Old Growth Protections In the U.S. […]

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