Pacific Western Yew Survey

Posted June 25, 2013 | Categories : 156,400,BC Parks,ER Proposals,Logging old-growth,Management,Reports |
On Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 12:19 PM, Elphinstone Logging Focus <> wrote:
Hi Norm,
Last week, 5 volunteers visited DK045 – the upper parcel where I previously noted a high number of Pacific Yews.   The plan was to conduct a survey of as many Yews as we could find. The community knows this forest as ‘The Roberts Creek Headwaters Ancient Forest’ where we have conducted several public walks.  
One of the guys (Andy) is a Registered Arborist and suggested a survey technique would could implement.
The 5 people spread out across the block within calling and sight distance.  We walked from west to east across the full length and breath of the falling boundaries.  Using yellow flagging, we tagged every Yew we came across. Each person wrote their first initial and then numbered the taping sequentially.  Some of the trunks emerged from the same base, in which case, it was counted as one tree.
The recording came out as follows:
Paulo: 77
Janet: 43
Andy: 72
Bill: 45
Ross: 103
Total: 340 Pacific Yew
There are 10+ instances of clusters (4-5) of Yews growing around the base of the Yellow-cedar suggesting a symbiotic relationship between the 2 species.  As, Andy pointed out the growing conditions for Yew are optimal at this site, with a high under-storey creating suitable shade conditions, wet, rich organic soils, and a stable forest regime. 
The upper DK045 is a small patch of forest (maybe 12Ha?) yet shows an extraordinary number of Pacific Yew trees growing. 
In a search of the Ecological Reserves in BC, there’s not one site devoted for the protection/education of the Pacific Yew.   Since the Yew is an old-growth dependant species and this location is close to Metro Vancouver and communities on the Sunshine Coast, we suggest that its a fine candidate for Ecological Reserve status.
From many different walks through remaining old-growth forests on Vancouver Island, Coast Mountains and Sunshine Coast, I’ve never come across such a high density of Pacific Yew. In the Capilano Valley, you can find the largest Yews recorded in BC (listed on the Big Tree Registry), yet at this site there are only about a dozen in total. 
Ross Muirhead
Elphinstone Logging Focus