The current mountain pine beetle (MPB) epidemic in lodgepole pine forests of the interior of British Columbia is without precedent in the recorded history of forest management in the province (Eng, 2004). Vast areas of productive forest, which have in the past provided the economic foundation for the forest industry in interior BC, are entering a period of transition. MPB has shown an affinity for many types of stands varying in age, structural stage, species composition, productivity, and climatic zone. Consequently, the post-outbreak trajectory of forest development is uncertain and could be steered in many different directions through salvage and other forest management activities. If we are to be successful in maintaining forest attributes that provide for both economic and ecological values we must plan carefully and develop strategies that account for short and long-term patterns of change in stand attributes and landscape patterns associated with specific forest values. However, the complexity associated with such planning is considerable. For example, rushing to salvage wood while it is still economically viable can have substantial ecological impacts including (but not limited to): reduction in the habitat supply of forest-dependent species, loss of mature pine habitat, shifts in seral-stage patch size distributions (Bunnell et al., 2004), changes in stand dynamics (including ecosystem productivity and the rates of recovery of key habitat elements). Furthermore, management alternatives must be assessed with respect to changes in future ecological and socioeconomic risk factors. To explore the consequences and developmental implications of alternative salvage and post-salvage harvesting strategies, managers require decision-support systems which allow them to examine the potential short and long-term consequences of MPB management on both economic and ecological indicators of sustainable forest management (SFM). Within the past 5 years, landscape-scale forest planning models have made significant progress in coping with the spatial and temporal complexity associated with multi-objective, ecosystem-based management. However, the credibility of predictions derived from these landscape-scale planning tools depends implicitly on the quality of the stand-level databases used to drive them (see Seely et al., 2004). These databases contain information describing how particular stand types (analysis units) grow and change through time in response to different types of disturbance (e.g. harvesting and/or natural disturbance agents). Output from growth and yield models (TASS/TIPSY and VDYP, for example) is often used to derive such database values because these are widely available and easy to use. The problem with this approach is that such models are unsuitable for projecting the broad range of stand attributes (snags, CWD, shrub cover, carbon storage, etc.) required for multi-objective or ecosystem-based forest management (Kangas et al., 2000). Furthermore, the fact that their application is restricted to relatively simple stand types and management systems also renders such models unsuitable for projecting the growth and development of stands subjected to complex silviculture systems, including mixedwood management, intensive management (fertilization and brushing), and variable retention harvesting. For an effective evaluation of alternative MPB salvage scenarios, stand-level models underlying such decision-support systems must be capable of projecting patterns of stand development following varying levels of attack and associated salvage/rehab systems and following silviculture interventions designed to reduce the susceptibility of existing stands to future attack (see Fig. 1). In addition, they must be able to track the development of stand attributes associated with both economic and ecological indicators of SFM. At the landscape-scale models must consider the spatial and temporal distribution of salvage activities and p
Deschamps, Kerry, Canadian Forest Products Ltd.. 2007. Moving towards a desirable future: developing and evaluating alternative MPB salvage strategies in the Prince George Forest District. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
Keywords: Forest, Investment, Account, (FIA), Dendroctonus, Ponderosae, British, Columbia
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