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Wildwood Forest | Merv Wilkinson

Ecoforestry is built on the example that was created at the Wildwood Forest by Merv Wilkinson over 60 years ago.

In 1938, when Merv Wilkinson established Wildwood, a 90 acre forest near Nanaimo, BC, his philosophy of forest management was based on the idea of sustainability. These principles were sharply different from common practices of the day. Over the years his management has been influenced by scientific insight, intuition, experimentation and experiences, including those of the many visitors from around the world. However, he always intentionally harvested less than the rate of growth so that the volume of wood in the stand has not fluctuated greatly. Merv's practice of maintaining continuous forest cover, leaving snags for wildlife habitat, and, more recently, leaving large woody debris to enrich the forest floor, illustrates the high value Merv places on ecosystem function. His timber harvesting program, dictated by the productivity limits of the forest over the long term, maintains ecological and economic values for future generations.

Sixty years of ecoforestry have illustrated that the forestry practiced at Wildwood has not decreased the productive capacity of the forest, or put ecosystem function at risk. Now Wildwood is widely recognized as a model for ecoforestry. It has become a learning site for those wanting skills in ecoforestry, and is often used by college and university students as a site for field studies. Merv has been very generous in sharing his knowledge and experiences with others and over the years he has taken thousands of people through his forest.

The Land Conservancy is committed to carrying on this legacy to Merv Wilkinson and sharing it with all that are interested in working towards a sustainable society. Wildwood will continue to be a working forest, with a focus on providing educational opportunities.

To read a recent article about Wildwood featured in the Cowichan Valley Citizen, please follow this link: Article | Cowichan Valley Citizen - 2008 (PDF 30kb)

All the principals, staff and Board Members associated with the Living Forest social enterprise mourn the passing of Merve Wilkinson, age 97, in August of 2011. Hailed as the "Father of Eco-forestry" in BC,Merv Wilkinson began a new form of sustainable forestry on Wildwood Forest over 70 years ago. He was a tireless and uncompromising advocate for the forests, and was one of the first on Vancouver Island to actively document and teach the careful and wise single stem selection harvesting process. Described by "Magnificiently Unrepentant" by the Judge at his Clayquot trial, Merve was never afraid to draw attention to the destructive practices of industrial forestry. Merve Wilkinson was an Hononary Member of the Trust for Sustaianable Forestry, and taught us all a great deal.