Use of alternatives to clearcutting, broadly termed variable retention (VR) management, has become an increasingly popular method employed by forest managers to address non-timber management objectives. The retention of individual or groups of trees within a block is intended to maintain structural complexity, provide habitat for wildlife and to reduce the negative aesthetic impact of timber harvesting (Burton et al., 1999, Mitchell et al., 2001). In essence, it is a space for time substitution in which forest structural elements that have a long ecological rotation are embedded in a matrix of shorter ecological rotation stand elements, thereby sustaining these different stand values. While it has shown promise in achieving these goals in the short term (e.g. Arnott and Beese 1997, Burton et al. 1999), the long-term implications of VR are largely unknown. There is evidence suggesting that selective harvesting may alter regeneration patterns, change competitive interactions between species, and influence growth rates (e.g., Bowden-Dunham 1998, Franklin et al., 1997; Thysell and Carey, 2000). In addition, VR has been shown to increase windthrow risk (Beese 2001; Burton 2001) and to increase harvesting costs (Arnott and Beese 1997). As there are few long-term field trials for variable retention systems, managers are forced to turn to scientifically credible models to project trajectories of vegetation community development and link stand-level responses to forest-level models.
Seely, Brad A.. 2005. South Coast LLEMS Project Phase 3: Application and Evaluation. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program - Innovative. Forest Investment Account Report
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
Keywords: Forest, Investment, Account, (FIA), British, Columbia
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