It’s World Meteorological Day on March 23

Rain, snow and sun – how does weather affect the forest?

Climate matters to the park. Rain, sunshine, wind and snow all affect this delicate environment. Just over ten years ago in December 2006, a devastating windstorm struck Stanley Park. It flattened large areas of forest, including many of the Park’s oldest trees and even damaged the seawall itself. SPES worked with the City and a host of wonderful supporters to restore as much of the damage as possible and to improve access for visitors, but it was a reminder to us all of how fragile the Park is.

A tree blocks the Stanley Park seawall following the 2006 windstorm.

Thankfully we haven’t had seen a storm like that since, but even less extreme weather can affect the Park. Severe heat like last summer can cause wetlands to shrink, whilst heavy winter rains increase erosion of the cliff faces.  Long term climate change is perhaps the biggest threat to the forest and it may significantly change the animals and plants that live there.

We don’t know exactly what the Park may look like in 50 to 100 years. There are species that live in the Park today that didn’t exist in this area a century ago, and others that have become much less common. Some like large mammals have been driven out by humans and others like English ivy have been introduced. This is why we monitor the animals and plants in the Park so carefully to try and understand how our Park is changing and what we can do to preserve it.

You can learn more about our work on Earth Day in Stanley Park this April 22.