Shrubs are a common landscape feature in B.C. and a floristic component of all biogeoclimatic zones. Some shrubs, such as big sagebrush and bitter-brush, are dominant species in drier parts of the province in the Bunchgrass, Ponderosa Pine, and Interior Douglas-fir zones. Similarly, willows are often principal shrubs in riparian habitats and in burned-over areas, particularly in northern B.C. Other species such as alder can dominate mesic forest sites after logging, fire, and other disturbances. Shrubs are used by many animal species for food and cover. Their relative importance to animals, however, varies depending on the habitat requirements of animals, and the structure and palatability of shrubs. Grazing is one of the principal factors affecting rangeland ecosystems, and when shrubs are palatable, browsing may be an important influence regulating their populations. Therefore, appropriate levels of browse use are essential to ensure the long-term productivity and sustainability of this resource for livestock, wildlife, and other resource values. In 2002, the government of B.C. initiated a review of the regulations to the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act including standards for shrub use. This report is a review of literature on browse use of important shrubs in B.C. with the intention of assisting in developing browse-use guidelines. Recommendations are listed.
Wikeem, B, S. Wikeem. 2005. Impacts of Browsing on Key Wildlife Shrubs in British Columbia and Recommendations for their Use. Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection. Wildlife Working Report. WR114