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Group selection silvicultural systems to maintain caribou habitat in high elevation forests (ESSFwc3) in central BC Newsome, Teresa A.
2010
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Abstract: UPDATE 2009-10 The only change to this project is the natural regeneration study. It was scheduled for field measurement in 2008, but after reviewing the 10th year published paper (Steen et al. 2008), it is not necessary to continue the original study on the effects of scarification and hand seeding. However, it is necessary to assess the ability of natural regeneration to restock blocks and whether free-growing has been met in the three openings sizes at each block. This project also provides the opportunity to input into the Silviculture Surveys Procedure Manual (Forest Practice Branch 2008) on how to survey group selection systems, and the selection of inter-tree distances in the ESSFwc3. We propose in 2009 to continue to study the natural regeneration ingress and densities in the three opening sizes using the standard silviculture survey methodology (Forest Practices Branch 2008). Plots (3.99 m radius) will be centred at locations selected for the original study. There is no cost implication to the original work plan as there were funds for analysis and reporting in the original schedule for 2009/2010. This is a long-term research project that supports current policy (Cariboo-Chilcotin Land-Use Plan (CCLUP) (Prov.B.C. 1995), and CCLUP - Mountain Caribou Strategy (Youds et al. 2000)) and provides an integrated approach to resource management. Mountain caribou are on the provincial threatened list and in the CCLUP, they are considered a key management species. Under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) mountain caribou are designated as threatened within Southern Mountains National Ecological Area (SMNEA) and recovery planning is underway provincially through the Species at Risk Co-ordination Office (SaRCO). The CCLUP -Mountain Caribou Strategy has modified harvesting options for 53,000 ha of critical caribou winter range in the upper elevations of the Engelmann spruce  subalpine fire zone (ESSFwc3). The Quesnel Highland project was developed to test group selection silvicultural systems that retain caribou habitat (forage lichens associated with old-growth forests) while extracting timber, achieving regeneration, conserving biodiversity and understanding the effects of partial cutting on peak streamflow. This project fits well with the management recommendations proposed by Stevenson et al. (2001). Forest practices are currently the greatest habitat management concern for mountain caribou (Mountain Caribou Technical Advisory Committee 2002). Associated with forest practices are habitat fragmentation, reduction in winter food supply, increased human access and associated disturbance, and alteration of predator-prey relationships. The recovery planning process, through SaRCO, is considering all these factors in an options report for various populations of caribou (Mountain Caribou Science Team 2006). In the Quesnel Highland planning unit three of the five options include modified harvesting. Because of the threatened status of the caribou nationally, convincing data regarding modified harvesting will be needed to ensure that the land continues to contribute to the annual allowable cut (AAC). It is essential to continue monitoring the research trial to either confirm success or learn how to modify the silvicultural systems to achieve success. Caribou eat arboreal (tree-dwelling) lichens almost exclusively during the winter and logging can have a drastic effect on available lichen biomass (Stevenson 1979, 1990; Rominger 1994). Clearcutting is not compatible with maintaining mountain caribou habitat as it completely removes arboreal lichen. Lichen dispersal, establishment and growth are slow (due to required substrate and microclimate conditions) and it may take over a century before the quantity of lichen within a clearcut is comparable to that found in old-growth stands. Partial cutting through group selection systems may provide sufficient arboreal lichen through space and time. On our rese ...
 
Newsome, Teresa A.. 2010. Group selection silvicultural systems to maintain caribou habitat in high elevation forests (ESSFwc3) in central BC. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report
 
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
Keywords: Forest, Investment, Account, (FIA), British, Columbia
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