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Why Cherish Western Redcedar?

Importance

Ecology

Ecological Importance

Western redcedar is an important member of the forest communities in the Pacific Northwest. Mature trees can survive 1000 years, providing structure and stability for many ‘generations’. This species is common in drainage areas and riparian systems because of its tolerance to wet soils,  providing critical shade and helping to regulate stream temperatures and water quality for salmon. Even fallen trees can remain intact for more than 200 years, serving as massive carbon sinks and sources of soil organic matter.

Culture

Cultural Importance

Many indigenous communities consider western redcedar the ‘Tree of Life’ because of the numerous resources it provides throughout our lifetimes. Every part of the tree can be used: the boughs and bark can be mended into textiles, furnishings, used as medicines, and used as ceremonial supplies; the wood provided supreme planks for housing, musical instruments, carvings and transportation—including 60′ canoes made from a single tree.

Economics

Economical Importance

Forestry is a major sector and one of the oldest industries of our economy in the Pacific Northwest. Western redcedar has always been a pivotal component because of its unique properties as a building material. Still today, many of our communities depend on western redcedar as a source of income. For example, the mill operated by Idaho Cedar Sales in Troy Idaho, employs many residents to produce specialty redcedar products and fencing.

Why do you cherish western redcedar?

Each of us may value western redcedar for different reasons. Share your values here to give us a better picture of the diverse reasons we appreciate this amazing species.