Western Red Cedar © Ian Thomas

TREE SPOTLIGHT: Western Red Cedar

Western Red Cedar can grow up to 70 metres tall and live up to several hundred years old. With its lightweight and rot-resistant wood, red cedar is the most versatile and most widely-used plant among coastal First Nations. Red cedar fibre is treated to make clothing and other materials. The wood is used for a range of purposes including buildings and structures, furniture, guitars and canoes. The fragrant oil of these trees is equally prized for its many applications from skin treatments to perfumes.

Did you know?


The Great Bear Rainforest is made up of some of the oldest and largest trees on earth. These are mostly coniferous trees with needles instead of leaves that get by on less sunlight than trees with leaves. Trees here can tower up to 90 metres and grow for hundreds of years. Research shows trees near former First Nations villages in the Central Coast region have grown taller, wider and healthier than those in the surrounding forest. More than 500 generations of coastal First Nations left behind deep shell middens – sometimes more than five metres deep – which fed highly beneficial nutrients into the soil. In addition to soil quality, tree size across this rainforest is also affected by elevation, hill slope and exposure to wind.

Download the free Central Coast Biodiversity app to learn about more than 210 plants, 80 birds, 190 marine invertebrates, 50 fish, 20 mammals and reptiles, and 120 different kinds of seaweed.

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