British Columbia

B.C. BigTree Registry wants your nominations

Have you ever stumbled upon a giant tree in B.C.? The new online B.C. BigTree Registry wants to know about it. Unlike its paper predecessor, anyone can now nominate a tree, anywhere in the province.

'Tree enthusiast' behind the project hopes online format will bring new life to the old registry

The B.C. BigTree Registry wants people to send in their measurements when they find a big tree while exploring the province. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Have you ever stumbled upon a giant tree in B.C.? The new online BC BigTree Registry wants to know about it.

Unlike its paper predecessor, anyone can now nominate a tree from anywhere in the province.

The original registry was created in 1986, when environmentalist Randy Stoltmann started compiling a box of papers and photos with a simple list of big trees around B.C.

When Stoltmann died in an avalanche in 1994, the registry was moved around, with only sporadic contributions.

It was given to the University of British Columbia's Faculty of Forestry in 2010 and Professor Sally Aitken was happy to give it new life.

A self-described "tree enthusiast," UBC Forestry Professor Sally Aitken says she took on the job of co-ordinating the B.C. BigTree registry because she wants the province's big trees to be documented and protected. (Twitter)

"I am a tree enthusiast," she told CBC Radio's The Early Edition.

"I think these trees are a legacy that we've inherited in this province, and that we should be recording this kind of information about them, and also facilitating people visiting them."

Aikten says the new website comes with a new philosophy and has opened itself to everyone in the province, not just forestry professionals.

"Basically anyone can now nominate a tree, and anyone can look up the information [about] a tree that's already been documented," she said.

The website outlines the process for nominating a tree, including the requirements to be a truly big tree.

Aitken says anyone with a smart phone and a tape measure should be able to figure it out, but the measurements of a nominated tree will have to be verified by a professional forester or surveyor.

Biggest trees yet to be discovered

Aitken says the definition of a "big tree" is relative to its species.

"I think when we think about big trees, we tend to think about the huge Douglas fir, and Sitka spruce, and western red cedar, because they are really the mammoths of the forest," she said.

She says the registry is looking for the biggest tree of each species in B.C., and is missing information when it comes to some of the smaller tree species, like the Pacific dogwood.

Aitken says new nominations have been coming in with trees that are among the largest of their kind ever registered.

"There are still lots of big trees out there," she said. 

"We need to know where they are so we can document them, monitor them, and work to protect those very unusual and special specimens."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.