Dean M. Chriss
Old Growth Forest and Devil's Club

Old Growth Forest and Devil's Club, Washington

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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 Club is 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.

Copyright 2020 Dean M. Chriss