Here’s an interesting illustration of what underplanting is. Not all trees can germinate and grow in shade cast by the overstory. Douglas fir is an example. But cedar and hemlock and can. These cedar were planted along the Log Train Trail at the Burde Street Entrance. About 8-10 years ago Frank Stini’s crew planted them. Port Alberni resident, Dave Jarret says he was one of the ones who helped plant them; he’d know exactly when they went in the ground.
Anyway, look at them now! A new forest is developing as the older trees, the Alder, are getting toward the end of their life. Within 20 years, less than a lifetime. Most pf the alder will have died and the cedar will be free to grow.
More likely though, this path could be lined by a housing development in the same time period.
However, there is another part of the city where this kind of environmental enhancement would be appropriate: the Roger Creek floodplain. The pathways that were built along the banks of the creek have revealed a large area of old and dying alder. The understory is full of salmonberry. Within 20 years all that will remain will be a jungle of salmonberry, unless some planting is done. Primarily that should be cedar, except where there is enough sun for Sitka Spruce or Douglas Fir.
These trees would be long lived, provide shade to Roger Creek, the droppings from the trees, branches leaves bugs and larvae would provide habitat for the fish in the creek. Eventually when they die, they can provide provide coarse woody debris (logs, branches, and root wads) for fish to hide under. They would also absorb carbon in a location that would be secure for many generations.
It’s a bit of a pipe dream though, isn’t it? Maybe not. Perhaps some resourceful organization will step forward and secure some grant money and get it done.