There are no signifcant changes to the project methods being used as described in the original LOI for this project.
The purpose of this project is to gather information on the ecology, distribution and abundance of the Pacific golden chanterelle (Cantharellus formosus) on northern Vancouver Island. The Pacific golden chanterelle is a commercially harvested gourmet wild mushroom. It is one of the most valuable non-timber forest products produced from the forests of northern Vancouver Island. This study is investigating habitat requirements, yield estimates and compatible management strategies for sustaining or enhancing chanterelle production along with timber and other forest resources.
The specific research questions the project will address are:
1. What are the habitat characteristics of commercially productive chanterelle habitat on Northern Vancouver Island (NVI)?
2. What is the distribution and abundance of commercially productive chanterelle habitat in TFL 37 on NVI?
3. What is the average productivity of chanterelles (kg/ha/yr) from commercially productive habitat in TFL 37?
4. How do chanterelle yields relate to annual weather patterns?
5. What relationships exist between past forest management activities and chanterelle productivity and what are the implications to compatible management of chanterelles and timber?
The project builds on previous work in the Nimpkish Valley (Tree Farm Licence 37) that detected chanterelles on 86 sites, 33 of which were considered highly (commercially) productive. Based on the information gathered from these sites, a habitat model was developed to map the distribution of Pacific golden chanterelle habitat across the study area, with assistance from Canadian Forest Products and Western Forest Products. Three ecologically similar sites with predicted high abundance of chanterelles were selected for monitoring productivity. All chanterelles were harvested from plots every 2-3 weeks throughout the fruiting season in 2003 and 2006. Total biomass production of chanterelles across the 3 sites averaged 8.3 kg/ha(2003), 4.4 kg/ha(2006) and 4.7 kg/ha (2007) fresh weight. The habitat maps were refined in 2006 and 2007 and some ground-truthing has been done to verify their accuracy using quantitative methods to compare chanterelle productivity between mapped habitat types. Since chanterelles are often most abundant in second growth forests, the silviculture histories of some highly productive chanterelle sites are being examined to identify practices that could enhance chanterelle production. This research provides a foundation for integrating production of chanterelles into forest management planning on Northern Vancouver Island and elsewhere in British Columbia.