In 1938, when Merv Wilkinson began working at Wildwood, his philosophy of forest management was based on sustained yield theory. These principles were sharply different from common practices of the day. Over the years his management style was influenced of scientific insight, intuition, experimentation and experiences, including those of the many visitors from around the world.
Wildwood is now widely recognized as a model for ecoforestry. It has become a learning site for those wanting skills in ecoforestry, and is often used by college and university students as a site for field studies. Merv has been very generous in sharing his knowledge and experiences with others. Over the years thousands of people have gone through this forest.
The Land Conservancy is committed to carrying on this legacy to Merv Wilkinson and sharing it with all that are interested in working towards a sustainable society. Sustainability for us means being able to integrate our activities within the limits of our home landscape and the ecosystem processes which govern its functioning. We do not wish to compromise the ability of indigenous organisms or the forest to withstand stresses and disturbances. Wildwood will continue to be a working forest, with the focus being on providing educational opportunities.
Wildwood is located in the Yellow Point/Cedar area of eastern Vancouver Island near the communities of Nanaimo and Ladysmith. The landscape has been influenced by glacial scouring as indicated by the ridges and wetlands oriented roughly north to south. The property is 77 acres (32 hectares) in size and is bisected by the southern arm of Quennell Lake. The property is diverse, with areas of steep and undulating slopes, marshy areas as well as dry ridges. As a result of this diversity there are several vegetation communities. The tree species include Douglas-fir, western redcedar, grand fir, Arbutus, bigleaf maple, red alder, western hemlock, bitter cherry, cascara and the tree which provides British Columbia’s floral emblem, Pacific dogwood. The forest is a mix of old growth and second growth trees.
A few properties adjacent to Wildwood are similar in topography and vegetation communities and have been managed in a similar fashion to Wildwood. But much of the surrounding area is being developed as rural residential. Wildwood and the larger wooded properties in the area are important as an ecological reserve for the entire Yellow Point area.