An investigation of five recently harvested areas in the Cascades and Southern Rocky Mountains of British Columbia has demonstrated that present forest harvesting practices when applied without sufficient planning and supervision can result in severe site degradation. Mass wasting and surface erosion resulted in a loss of productive land and water quality in all of the cases examined.
The problems occurred in areas with natural limitations to harvesting activities. including excessive slopes. shallow impermeable zones. fine textured soils, or seepage. These limitations were not recognized when the harvesting plan was being formed, and therefore the areas did not receive the treatments necessary to limit erosion.
Roads which were improperly located, or poorly constructed accounted for 80% of the soil erosion events observed. Emplacement of extensive cuts, fills, or sidecasting, and insufficient drainage structures were the primary causes.
Skidder-logged areas of the Nelson Forest District had nearly twice the area (14.7-18.6%) of the cutover deeply disturbed by harvesting, than the highland areas of the Vancouver Forest District (7.2-9.4%). Skid roads were the main contributor to the differences.
Regeneration of these areas was also found to be problematic. In most cases, planting was necessitated because of insufficient site evaluation prior to harvesting. The availability of seed source. advance regeneration, and planting stock have to be considered when harvesting plans are being drawn up.
Detailed information on this subject may be obtained by writing to the Information Division, B.C. Forest Service, Legislative Buildings, Victoria, B.C. V8V 1X5 for Research Note No. 72 by G. Utzig and L. Herring titled, "Forest Harvesting Impacts at High Elevations: Five Case Studies."
[Abstract contains full text of memo.]
BC Forest Service - Research Division. 1975. Forst harvesting impacts at high elevations. British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Research Memo (FLNRORD). RM3
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
Keywords: FLNRORD, Research Memo, British Columbia
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