An alternative harvesting prescription designed to create winter forage for Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and restore indigenous wildlife and vegetation communities was first applied to the Skull Special Resource Management Zone (Skull SRMZ) in 1998. A long-term monitoring program established at the same time has been examining the impacts of the harvest treatments on the winter habitat of mule deer. During the summer of 2003, wildfire dramatically changed the landscape of the Skull SRMZ. The McLure fire affected most of the study area. During the fall season immediately following the wildfire, surveys were conducted to determine the broad fire intensity at each established sample site. Since then, surveys of mule deer in the area over the following two winters, 2003-04 and 2004-05, have provided insight into the deer habitat use immediately following this catastrophic disturbance. The transects represented a broad spectrum of post-fire habitats including sites with differing fire severities, existing harvested cutblocks, and sites that were harvested for burn salvage in 2004. The winter of 2004-05 was atypical in that record low temperatures and snow fall occurred during the early winter sampling period in early January, followed immediately by a reverse trend of record high temperatures that melted most of the snow pack on Skull Mt. As a result, snow depths precluded detection of any browse evidence during the early winter sample period and the lack of snow throughout February precluded a late winter sample altogether. However, Mule Deer sign, including fresh (=24hours) tracks and beds, were recorded in the most open stands available. A compilation of vegetation sampling (plots and transects) was also completed in the summer of 2004 to collect post-burn baseline information. As well, a small sub- study of the effects of seeding on Skull Mountain was completed using plots and line intercepts along 4 permanently established transects in control (unseeded) and seeded sites. Although post-treatment effects are not yet evident, the baseline information has been collected for future comparative analyses.
Cascadia Natural Resource Consultants Inc.. 2005. Skull Special Resource Management Zone Monitoring Program: Mule Deer Winter Range and Vegetation 2004-05 Summary Report. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program. Forest Investment Account Report
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
Keywords: Forest, Investment, Account, (FIA), British, Columbia
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