The Nature of Things·Video

Scientists are discovering new species in the ancient canopies of Canada's tallest trees

On BC’s coast, giant trees have been fed by rain for over 700 years and are home to an incredible micro-world.

On BC’s coast, giant trees have been fed by rain for over 700 years and are home to an incredible micro-world

Canada’s largest trees hold mysteries in their canopies - Wild Canadian Weather

The Nature of Things

2 months ago
3:36
On BC’s coast, giant trees have been fed by rain for over 700 years and are home to an incredible micro-world. 3:36

Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park, on Vancouver Island's west coast, is one of the rainiest places in North America. An average of seven metres of rainfall each year fosters the growth of giants — trees, that is. 

The deluge creates a unique temperate rainforest which is home to Canada's largest and oldest trees. Some of the trees are over 700 years old and they hold a secret habitat in their towering canopies. 

Neville Winchester and Stephanie Hughes have been exploring these dizzying heights to learn more about the organisms that call this place home. "This is where all the action is," says Winchester. "It's like a suspended garden, in some sense."

The moss mats that drape the ancient tree limbs soak up the rainwater, holding up to a million litres per square kilometre and sustaining an incredible diversity of microorganisms: flies, mites and beetles. 

Winchester has discovered 20 brand new species in the canopy but experts think that there could be as many as 300!

Watch the video above for the full story.

Watch Wild Canadian Weather for more. 

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