Wildlife Tree Stewardship Program Home

Wildlife Trees

Species description, sounds, nesting habits & moreLocal Government

Currently, Section 34(b) of the BC Wildlife Act extends year-round protection to a select group of birds' nests that include those of bald eagles, ospreys, and great blue herons.  For other bird species, the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act and provincial Wildlife Act protect nests only when they are occupied by adult birds, their young, and/or eggs.

However, there is very little legislation that protects the actual wildlife habitat especially on private land [Demarchi & Bentley, 2004].  “In the Okanagan, southern Vancouver Island and the lower mainland, where our most endangered ecosystems are located, a large percentage of critical habitat is on private land [Sandborn]”.

Often seen are properties with a single nest tree remaining because the nest is protected under the Wildlife Act. If there is no other legislation pertaining to the buffer area surrounding the tree (and often there isn't), then clearing can occur right up to the base of the tree and subsequent developments can be built.  Due to this development, the health of the tree is often compromised by hydrology alteration and root damage.  Eventually, the landowner becomes concerned about the huge tree falling on adjacent buildings and applies for the nest tree to be removed.  Often, the application is successful because the tree has become a human safety issue.

WiTS is working with local governments concerning wildlife trees and community planning.  Through the Local Government Act, local governments can write legislation to protect buffer areas around wildlife trees.  WiTS is offering to share data on known wildlife nest trees and currently shares data with the following local governments: District of Campbell River; Regional District of Comox-Strathcona; Regional District of Nanaimo; City of Nanaimo; Cowichan Valley Regional District; Islands Trust; District of Saanich; District of Central Saanich; District of North Saanich; and working towards data sharing agreements with the District of North Cowichan; District of Metchosin; Town of Ladysmith; and City of Surrey.

Contact one of our regional representatives for more information on what local governments can do to protect wildlife trees.

images and information 2012 Wildlife Tree Stewardship Program