In the Omineca Region of British Columbia, the growth and development of terrestrial lichen communities is a fundamental feature of Ungulate Winter Ranges (UWRs) used by woodland caribou. Development of lichens is characterized by: a) site factors which influence the availability of soil moisture and nutrients for competing vascular plants and b) a chronosequence where lichens are most dominant 70 to 140 years after a wildfire but are eventually replaced by feather mosses after 140 years. But the rate of this development is not uniform across all sites; some lichen sites succeed to feather moss communities quicker than 140 years while others appear as though they do not undergo succession of the vegetation community beyond the lichen stage. A survey of lichen abundance was conducted within selected UWRs to characterize terrain and forest conditions at sites that were either succeeding to feather moss or were apparently at a climax stage dominated by lichens. Collected data were used to update and stratify modeled UWRs in the Mackenzie Forest District as either succession (12,919 ha) or pyro-climax (7,909 ha) lichen types. This new information will assist land managers to distinguish where management intervention is required to sustain terrestrial forage lichens and where future lichen supplies can be left to natural processes. Further spatial analyses of the two lichen types and any planned management intervention could also benefit conservation of other range values (e.g., minimizing predation risk) and help inform caribou recovery planning in general.
Sulyma, Randy. 2009. Lichen inventory. 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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