Healthy Salmon Runs = Vital Forests


Many of us know the benefits that fish fertilizers have on plant growth; they are commonly used in farming. Have you ever had an egg or a fresh tomato taste a little fishy? That is a sign of fish fertilizer use in the growth of your food.

Now imagine, what do you think a rotting fish may do in a natural environment?

That is what Simon Fraser University’s John Reynolds’ study looked at, the impacts salmon pulled into the forest by mammals had on forest vitality.Various mammals hunt for salmon in streams and rivers, and after they have feasted they leave the carcasses behind on the forest floor. John Reynolds and his researchers determined that the nitrogen from the decomposing salmon directly aids in the growth of the surrounding plants. This process then contributes to greater yields of berries produced by a plant for example, and in turn creates a spike in the numbers of birds and insects in the area. Reynolds claims, “It is possible to look the forest in a watershed and to know how well the associated salmon is doing.”

Starting in 2007, a team of 10 researchers began examining 50 relatively small watersheds in the Great Bear Rainforest, a vast area of old growth forest on British Columbia’s wild Central Coast.

“It was almost like having a SWAT team. We had a plant crew, we had a stream crew measuring physical characteristics, we had water chemistry work, looking at nutrients in the water. We would beach the boat each day and people would head off in teams of two and three and get to work. It was quite an effort.,” [John Reynolds] said. [Read full article].

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