The focus of this long-term study is the complex interactions between intimate mixtures of conifer and deciduous species that make up a significant portion of the boreal forest of northern and central interior of BC. Mixedwood stands are composed mainly of aspen (Populus tremuloides [Michx.]) and white spruce (Picea glauca [Moench] Voss). They comprise the top two harvested species by volume in the Peace Forest District (PFD). However, because of under-utilization of this resource, the timber supply area (TSA) is at risk of losing up to 10% of the mixedwood or broadleaf contribution to the annual allowable cut (AAC)
(1). Current British Columbia (BC) policy guidelines do not encourage adaptive management when it comes to mixedwood stands
(2). Research suggests however, that complex species mixtures have greater productive potential than single species stands
(3). This research seeks to fulfill the following objectives, which are of interest to forest managers in boreal environments: i) understanding the ecological benefits of mixedwood management, ii) reducing stand management expenditures, iii) strategies and practices which maintain or enhance site productivity and harvest levels, iv) mixedwood/broadleaf management as a vehicle to obtain eco-certification, and v) how to manage mixedwood stands for predictable and sustainable timber production. Additionally, the structural and biological diversity of mixedwood stands may contribute to First Nations? objectives and biodiversity management. Timber harvesting objectives of mixedwood stands may be better met by improving growth and yield predictions based on long term data collection and by reducing spending on impractical silvicultural activities that do little to improve productivity. The information collected in this study will allow both natural resources managers and policy makers to develop and implement better mixedwood management strategies to maximize production and diversity, while minimizing costs. Because this study builds on an established long-term trial, the results are easily applied to monitoring programs, growth and yield analysis, and future provincial policy decisions for complex stands.
Hawkins, Chris D.B.. 2006. Managing for intimate species mixtures in BC's Boreal Forest. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2006MR305