Old-growth forests and iconic trees are valued by many British Columbians and visitors for their social and cultural significance, particularly on the West Coast. B.C.’s diverse old-growth forests are symbolic of B.C.’s natural heritage. They attract visitors from around the world and are enjoyed for their outdoor recreation opportunities. Old-growth forests have rich spiritual value, especially for Indigenous Peoples.

For thousands of years, Indigenous Peoples have looked to the forest for shelter, clothing, food, tools and medicine. The diverse ecosystems of old-growth forests provide water habitat for the fish, wildlife and ecosystems that are vital to many Indigenous communities. Old-growth forests are also important to Indigenous cultural practices that have been passed down for generations (e.g., the practice of altering or modifying trees).

B.C. law protects what are known as culturally modified trees. They are trees that were altered by Indigenous Peoples before 1846, as part of their traditional use of forests.