Dean M. Chriss
Old Growth Forest and Devil's Club, Washington
(Click image to enlarge)
The enormous trees in this forest are punctuated by the glow of sun shining
through the leaves of a thorny shrub known as "Devil's Club" or Devil's Walking Stick. This large understory shrub is
native to arboreal rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. It is noted for its
large palmate leaves and stiff woody stems that are covered with incredibly sharp
spines. Devil's Club can grow to 5 meters (16 feet) or more in height in these
ancient forests but it reaches just one meter or so in most other areas. Devil's
slow growing and takes many years to reach seed-bearing maturity, making it
very sensitive to human impact.
Old growth forest ecosystems are defined by four distinct characteristics
occurring simultaneously. This does not
occur in any other forest type. These forest ecosystems are not renewable
and we have already logged more than 93% of those that existed in America.
To learn more about these ancient ecosystems and why they are not renewable,
check out this essay.