Recently, there has been growing recognition of conservation biology concerns facing canopy lichens in wetbelt forests. Past resource use, for instance, logging in toe-slope positions, has inadvertently targeted many areas of high biodiversity significance. In recognition of these pressures, the Chief Forester, in his 2002 AAC determination for the Prince George Timber Supply Area (PGTSA) called for more research within wet ICH and SBS forests ?in light of a number of information gaps on rare and sensitive species such as cyanolichens?. Industry licensees have also had to consider SFI standard 4.1.4, which stipulates that licensees will have ?plans in place to protect species or communities that are vulnerable at the global, national, or regional level based upon conservation status ranking systems?. A major indicator of compliance is the 'Collection of information on critically imperiled and imperiled species and communities and other biodiversity-related data through forest inventory processes, mapping or participation in external programs?. Forest industry licensees are increasingly considering silvicultural practices that may promote the conservation of canopy lichens. These include shelterwood and variable retention (VR) harvesting, as well as greater green-tree retention in clearcut harvest blocks. Several information needs arise from this consideration of new forest management practices. These include: Will sensitive species be retained and grow under silvicultural systems that maintain some of the structural attributes of old-growth forests? Old forest retention targets in the PGTSA are aspatial, and are currently set at 53 and 48% respectively for the ICHvk2 and SBSvk. Although preliminary studies have noted the importance of topographic position and stand age there are currently no criteria that would allow resource managers to predict lichen biodiversity in wetbelt forests when using current coarse filter planning tools such as Predictive Ecosystem Mapping (PEM) and/or the Vegetation Resource Inventory (VRI). Can we identify coarse filter attributes that are associated with sensitive lichen species within the ICHvk2 and SBSvk? The research being conducted to address these questions has three major components: Component 1. Stand Structural Attributes and Canopy Lichen Diversity. The first step in determining lichen responses to changes in managed forests, and ultimately recommending harvesting practices that promote stand structural attributes, is to find out how lichen communities respond to the natural range of variation in stand structural attributes. We have taken measurements of lichen biodiversity and stand structural attributes across broad regional landscapes of the Upper Fraser River watershed, focusing on the mesic and submesic ICHvk2 and adjacent SBSvk. These mesic and submesic site series account for the majority of the ICH and SBS landbase in the PGTSA. These landscape level assessments address the question: ?What coarse filter attributes are required to achieve biodiversity goals with respect to maintaining species populations?? Fieldwork under this project component was conducted in Year 1 and 2 of the proposal, with follow-up data analysis and extension/publication of results occurring in Years 2 and 3. This project component will provide information that can be used, in combination with the Vegetation Resource Inventory (VRI), to extend the utility of Predictive Ecosystem Mapping to include canopy lichen biodiversity. Component 2. Lichen Biodiversity Response to Partial-Cutting Silvicultural Systems. The second major component of our proposed research program involves the reassessment of cyanolichen and Calicioid lichen biodiversity (both major indicator groups), in long-term study plots located in the group-retention area of the Lunate Creek Silvicultural Systems trial. Initial post-harvest assessments in these plots (2001) confirmed the presence of Aold-growth@ indicator species (eg. Chaenothec ...
Coxson, Darwyn S.. 2008. Coarse filter approaches for the conservation biology of canopy lichens in wet cedar-hemlock and sub-boreal spruce forests of central-interior BC. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2008MR175
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
Keywords: Forest, Investment, Account, (FIA), British, Columbia
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