This project is assessing the potential of green tree retention as a management tool to maintain soil health and functioning and site productivity after harvesting. This project brings together a unique multi-disciplinary group of researchers to apply a range of novel techniques to quantify changes in soil microbial and faunal diversity and function in response to harvesting. The research is using the 2nd replicate of the STEMS installation (an LTRI site) at Elk Bay, Vancouver Island, allowing efficient and effective use of resources. Our investigations will determine how soil communities change, whether key species are lost, and if retention of green trees of different aggregate sizes and density ameliorate modifications of these communities. Changes in rates of soil processes will be concurrently measured to determine if the observed alterations in soil communities have serious consequences for soil functioning. This project directly fits with the two goals of the Forest Science Program Strategic Plan 'To improve knowledge based science in support of sustainability? and 'To ensure effective extension of science knowledge?. The project addresses all the priority themes of the Sustainability program identified by the advisory committee for 2005/6 and is directly measuring ecosystem structure, function and processes and biodiversity related to forest management. The project will identify the diversity and function of the 'black box? of largely unknown soil organisms, changes in these communities with harvesting and determine the size and minimum distance between patches of green trees necessary for soil 'quality? preservation. The project will identify key organisms and processes necessary for conifer re-growth on harvested sites, which could be used as indicators of detrimental disturbance and management practices. The results will also be used to revise forest management guidelines in relation to protection of the soil resource and preservation of biodiversity, which is a requirement for certification through the Forest Stewardship Council, Principle 6. Current recommendations for soil biota preservation in the Results-Based Forest Practices Code are limited to retention of coarse woody debris and limitation of soil scalping. This project could lead to changes in regulations with green tree retention being included as a measure of protection of soil 'health?, and will directly contribute to recommendations on the size and dispersion of green tree 'islands? to be used in management.
Addison, Janet, Grayston, Susan J.; Berch, Shannon M.; de Montigny, Louise E.; Durall, Daniel M.; Egger, Keith N.; Jones, Melanie D.; Lemieux, Jeffrey P.; Modesto, Robin; Mohn, William W. (Bill); Panesar, Tochi S.; Prescott, Cindy E.; Simard, Suzanne W.; Srivastava, Diane S.. 2007. Green tree retention: a tool to maintain ecosystem health and function. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2007MR365
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
Keywords: Forest, Investment, Account, (FIA), Soils, British, Columbia
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