The Salmon Forest
Reveals the fragile connection between salmon, bears, trees, and people in the NW rainforest.
Directed by Caroline Underwood
Produced by CBC Enterprises
Written, produced, and directed by Caroline Underwood for CBC's "The Nature of Things"
Cinematographer: Leonard Gilday
Executive Producer: Michael Allder
On Canada's Pacific coast, winding from the north end of Vancouver Island to the Alaskan border, is over 400 kilometers of forested inlets and islands. This is the largest tract of intact temperate rainforest on earth -- it's more than twice the size of Switzerland. Here millions of spawning salmon that support dense concentrations of forest life, return every year. It is also where grizzly bears, black bears, bald eagles, seals, otters, gulls, and countless invertebrates thrive. Bathed in mist and rain year round, this is one of the most biologically diverse and lush places on the planet. Much of life here still remains secret and unknown.
"Highly Recommended" Mark Collins, Educational Media Reviews Online
Biologist Dr. Tom Reimchen, however, has uncovered one of those secrets. He has discovered why both black and grizzly bears fish at night and revealed the link between the salmon and the forest.
Entomologist Dr. Neville Winchester is also featured as he investigates the vast array of strange-looking arthropods and insects that litter the forest canopy. In addition, the Gitga'at, a First Nations people, are featured reaffirming their connection with the land and sea and performing their traditional Salmon Dance.
Grade Level: Grades 7-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2001
Copyright Date: 2001
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-252-1
VHS ISBN: 1-56029-909-6
"Eye-popping cinematography, intelligent and well-placed explanations, and a subtle-but-reliable narrative thread...Underwood's elegant design and production make this video applicable to a wide audience -- biology and ecology studies, as well as classes in anthropology, environment and indigenous peoples. Rating: Highly Recommended"
Mark Collins, Educational Media Reviews Online
"The film is timely because of the precipitous decline in salmon populations on the Pacific Northwest Coast threatens more than commercial and sport industry -- it threatens the health of the coastal rainforest...The compelling story, dazzling scenery, close-ups of tree-climbing, insect sampling, and the tree coring techniques kept my students enthralled throughout the showing of the film. They erupted in spontaneous applause at the end! Congratulations on marketing such a superb film."
Carol A. Jefferson, Ph.D., Plant Ecologist, Department of Biology, Winona State University
"Weaves an interesting story, linking the anadromous salmon stocks with grizzly and black bears, hemlock growth, and a diversity of invertebrates and microorganisms in Northern British Columbia. [The Salmon Forest] documents the life history of the salmon and makes the case that salmon are important components of the forest ecosystem. The video footage is good and captures the true feeling of the area. In addition, time-lapse photography is effectively used to illustrate the efficient decomposition of salmon carcasses."
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Awards and Festivals
Vermont International Film Festival
Runner Up, EarthVision International Environmental Video Festival
Honorable Mention, Columbus International Film Festival
Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival
Heard Museum Film Festival
Forests and Rainforests
Oceans and Coasts