The Variable Retention Windthrow Monitoring project has been ongoing for seven years, the first two years as a pilot study. The first year of the project included the eastern portion of the Port Alberni Forest Operation on south central Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Forest Operation. The second year focused on the Klanawa and Walbran watersheds in Port Alberni Forest Operation, Port McNeill Forest Operation and Mid Island Forest Operation. In the third year, the study expanded to include the Sprout Lake portion of Port Alberni Operation, Island Timberlands forestlands on the southeast coast of Vancouver Island and Stillwater Forest Operation. New plots were also established in Mid Island Forest Operation and the Queen Charlotte Islands. The fourth year of the study saw the establishment of new plots in variable retention harvest units at Mid Island Forest Operation, Port McNeill Forest Operation and Stillwater Forest Operation. Re-sampling took place on the majority of the pilot study sites that had experienced less than two winter wind seasons at the time of the initial sampling. During the fifth year of the study, additional plots were established in Mid Island Forest Operation, Port McNeill Forest Operation and Stillwater Forest Operation and several blocks sampled early in the program were re-sampled. During the sixth year of the study, 13 additional blocks were sampled in the Mid Island, Port Alberni and Stillwater Forest Operations. Plots in two experimental blocks, R917 and UL806 sampled earlier in the program were re-sampled. In the seventh year (2007- 2008) 535 new plots were established in several areas, expanding the study into the Holberg and Jeune Landing Forest Operations as well as establishing new plots in the Mid Island, Port McNeill, Port Alberni, Queen Charlotte Island and Stillwater Forest Operations. The wide geographic distribution of the study site facilitates evaluation of coast-wide variation in windthrow that associated with variable retention (VR) silvicultural practices. The overall project objectives are:
? Document the amount of windthrow associated with VR.
? Document the spatial distribution or patterns of windthrow associated with VR.
? Document regional differences in the extent of windthrow associated with VR.
? Identify the qualitative and quantitative factors associated with VR windthrow including both environmental factors and treatment effects.
? Identify specific management options to control windthrow associated with VR.
? Develop field indices and decision-making tools to enhance windthrow hazard assessments.
? Communicate the results to operations staff.