The presence or abundance of indicator species such as vascular and non-vascular epiphytes could prove valuable in measuring the loss of biological diversity in fragmented ecosystems of coastal British Columbia. Approaches to ecosystem-based forestry, including variable retention and its assessment via adaptive management, attempt to address the loss of biodiversity associated with forest fragmentation. I discuss the usefulness of epiphytes as indicators of the effects of forest harvesting. This pilot study consisted of examining the distribution and percent cover of nonvascular epiphytes in a second-growth and an old-growth forest in the CWH biogeoclimatic zone of the south west coast of British Columbia. Determining epiphyte zonation will prove to be a powerful tool in measuring differences among tree species and study sites. This is most effectively done by measuring mean percent cover of epiphyte functional groups within each of the epiphyte zones. Monitoring of epiphytes can be done in a cost-effective and precise way by using the single rope technique to access trees. Limitations to effective monitoring exist due to lack of life-history information on many of the species. Subsequent research in distribution, host-specificity and epiphyte succession is essential for making the monitoring programme efficient.
Stanger, Nicholas. 2003. Analysis of an epiphyte-monitoring programme in CWH old-growth and second-growth forests. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2003MR065