The current results-based approach to forest management governs forest practices in BC under the Forest and Range Practices Act through the development of Forest Stewardship Plans (FSP). In these Plans, tenure holders must state explicitly how they will address government objectives for key forest values. There are numerous written objectives for some of these key forest values, such as landscape level and stand level biodiversity, but some values do not have stated objectives. Coarse woody debris (CWD) is one forest value which does not have explicitly stated objectives; however, several management documents have been drafted in recent years focusing specifically on CWD. These papers attempt to provide true, measurable targets associated with the management of this specific resource. Examples of these documents include: Coarse woody debris: Inventory, decay modeling, and management implications in three biogeoclimatic zones (Densmore et al. 2005), and Managing Coarse Woody Debris in British Columbia?s Forests: A cultural shift for professional foresters? (Arsenault 2002).
Setting objectives for coarse woody debris and managing towards those objectives can have conflicts with other existing guidelines or policies that also focus on the ?woody debris? left on site after harvesting. These include the provincial policies for residue and waste management and fuel loading guidelines targeted at minimizing fire hazard. For example, several coarse woody debris management studies suggest that the larger the piece of woody debris left on site, the more valuable it is; however, the residue and waste guidelines do not allow for these types of logs left behind as it is considered ?waste? and the licensee is billed for it. To ensure that a reasonable balance is achieved while managing for CWD, residue and waste and fuel loading, it was deemed necessary to develop a prototype CWD classification that would help tenure holders and provincial regulators take a more methodic and deliberate approach to the management of coarse woody debris while considering the effects on residue and waste and fuel loading. This methodic approach would allow for:
some level of consistency in the classification of coarse woody debris;
some level of consistency in the approach to CWD management by helping with the decision-making process of removing (or leaving) the woody debris to meet the differing guidelines;
a feedback mechanism (measuring stick) by which one can determine how well the coarse woody debris resource is being managed, or not, lending itself well to adaptive management practices and the sustainability of CWD.