12/04/2015 16:13 EST | Updated 12/04/2016 00:12 EST

Group calls on B.C. to toughen protection for giant trees to aid climate change

WALBRAN VALLEY, B.C. — Conservationists calling for government action on climate change with the protection of British Columbia's old-growth forests say they've measured a near-record size red cedar in the central Walbran Valley.

The Ancient Forest Alliance says the tree it calls the Tolkien Giant is the ninth-widest western red cedar in the province, according to a list compiled by the University of B.C.

The alliance says the Tolkien has a circumference of 14.4 metres or 47 feet, stands 42 metres high and lies within a reserve that is protected, but logging is proposed for 200 metres away in an area that includes another huge tree.

Alliance executive director Ken Wu says old-growth temperate rainforests in the valley on Vancouver Island store more carbon per hectare than tropical rainforests.

He says when the massive trees are logged they stop absorbing huge amounts of carbon and the province's current measures to protect old-growth forests don't go far enough.

Wilderness Committee spokesman Joe Foy says lawyers have negotiated a court agreement with the Teal Jones Group that allows its members to witness the forestry company's logging activities in the central Walbran Valley.


The Canadian Press