Forest practices such as clearcutting that fragments habitat are currently of great management concern because Mountain Caribou require old-growth forests within the Englemann Spruce- Subalpine Fir (ESSF) and Interior Cedar-Hemlock biogeoclimatic zones. Lichens are widely recognized as the major winter forage of woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) throughout their range (Edwards et al. 1960). In mountainous areas of heavy snowfall in southeastern and east central B.C., caribou eat arboreal (tree-dwelling) lichens almost exclusively during the winter. Logging can have a drastic effect on available arboreal lichen biomass (Stevenson 1979 and 1990; Rominger et al. 1994). Effort has been directed at understanding the effects of silvicultural practices on arboreal lichen biomass in the ESSF zone (Stevenson et al. 1994). Current knowledge of lichen response is based on three provincial trials one of which is the Quesnel Highland trial, initiated to measure lichen response to group selection silvicultural systems. The other projects, in the Northern and Southern Interior Regions (The Northern Rockies Wet-belt ICH/ESSF Silvicultural Systems Research Project and Forest Canopy Processes and Partial-Cutting Silvicultural Systems in Northern Wet-belt Forests) are also testing the application of selection silvicultural systems to maintain caribou habitat (Stevenson et al. 1999). Our work is fully coordinated with those projects and together will provide the understanding necessary to apply the results throughout the entire global range of Mountain Caribou. These innovative approaches require long-term testing to evaluate their effectiveness. Only long-term data will provide the evidence needed to determine if timber extraction can continue to occur within the habitat of this red-listed, internationally threatened species.
Sagar, Robert M., Waterhouse, Michaela J.; Dunbar, Skye. 2009. Adaptive Management Studies in Caribou Habitat - Mt. Tom (EP 1104.02). 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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