Sustainable forest management requires data on frequency and impacts of natural disturbances. The spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana, is a major disturbance agent of the boreal forests of British Columbia, affecting over 1 000 000 hectares in recent years. However, little is known of the impact of this disturbance on forest resources and on ecosystem values. This project aims at describing the ecosystem changes induced by spruce budworm defoliation in forests of the Fort Nelson Forest District. Re- measurements on a network of ground plots provided data on stand level changes occurring as a consequence of defoliation. These included tree mortality, species changes, coarse woody debris accumulation, snag populations and growth rate differentials between defoliated and not defoliated species. Using dendrochronology methods we were able to establish a preliminary historical recurrence frequency for this disturbance. A complete database, which includes stand and landscape as well as infestation attributes, was prepared and used in hazard modeling, and to analyze landscape conditions that favour budworm outbreaks. High resolution (Ikonos satellite) and Landsat remote sensing methods were employed to develop techniques for monitoring the temporal and spatial characteristics of budworm outbreaks. Communications and extension activities included talks to local area foresters, and to conferences on Climate change. Forest Innovation Investment provided funding for this research project. Spruce budworm disturbance study in the Fort Nelson District is provided information needed for timber supply review and to support policies, regulations and guidelines that promote more effective use of forest resources.
Dr. Rene I. Alfaro et al.
Leckie, Donald G., Cloney, Ed; Gougeon, François A.; Hill, David A.; Shand, Angus; Alfaro, René I.; Magnussen, Steen; Hodgkinson, R.S.. 2004. Spruce Budworm disturbances of the boreal forest of British Columbia: damage, risk and ecosystem changes. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report