By contrast, in BC the age of ancient trees may be much greater, up to 2000 years in some cases, yet they have no protection from the industrial onslaught. Vancouver Island, British Columbia Douglas fir tree, Cathedral Grove.Photo: Friends of Cathedral Grove (FROG) Due to ineffectual park management, the grassroots group was formed to protect the nearly extirpated Douglas fir ecosystem of Cathedral Grove (left).Tough but flexible withes made lashing and heavy duty rope.

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Not far from the giant Douglas firs in the heart of Cathedral Grove are unprotected archaeological artifacts.

These "culturally modified trees" are red cedars that have had their bark stripped off for aboriginal and ceremonial purposes (left).

Arboreal groves resemble Gothic cathedrals with their ribbed upward striving vaults, naves, transepts and choirs.

Chartres Cathedral (below) illustrates the sylvan origins of Gothic architecture.

Trees as Individuals In Europe monumental and exceptional trees are fully protected as natural heritage, or nature monuments and numerous websites are dedicated to big trees which are in many instances given names.

Yet most of these trees are no more than 500 years old and rarely reach over 800 years.

"Amongst the worst of the numerous ecological tragedies that have been wreaked on this diverse forest over the past 150 years has been the near total extermination of primaeval Douglas fir.

Now more than 97 percent of this once magnificent forest is gone, and to add insult to injury, the industry has cut its way through the subsequent forest profile down to the 30 year old pecker poles which one sees everywhere being shipped south, across the border so Americans can run them through their mills" Ingmar Lee.

Big Trees as Objects of Science The big tree expert and biologist Al Carder published his second book on giant trees in 2005 (right).

He states that the 800 year old Douglas firs in Cathedral Grove do not even qualify as "big trees" compared to what he saw as a youth on the BC mainland.

Right: Old postcard of a couple sitting on the massive gnarled base of the "Cathedral Tree" in the Big Trees Grove at Felton, Santa Cruz County, California, 1903. Left: Old postcard of a person peaking out from a hollow in the 326 ft high redwood called "Mother Tree" in the Big Trees Grove at Big Basin Park, Santa Cruz County.