Stanley Park falls victim to climate change

By Sandrine Jacquot & Katrianna DeSante
National Observer
June 5, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

In October of 2023, the City of Vancouver began a multi-year process to fell 160,000 trees, almost a third of those in Stanley Park, a Vancouver landmark that draws over eight million visitors annually. Most of the dead trees are western hemlocks that fell prey to the western hemlock looper moth. “They are voracious feeders,” says Dr. Gerhard Gries, a professor of animal communication ecology at Simon Fraser University. Looper moths have periodic population booms. According to Gries, these outbreaks occur in B.C.’s interior every 11 to 15 years and every 20 years on the coast. The outbreak started on the North Shore in 2019 and spread to Stanley Park in 2020, says Joe McLeod, the Vancouver Park Board urban forestry manager. Blackwell & Associates issued a risk assessment report to the City in January 2024, indicating that 24 per cent of Stanley Park is classified as a high and extreme wildfire risk, with an additional 60 per cent classified as moderate risk. [For full access, you may need a subscription to the National Observer]

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