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Response by Wintering Mule Deer and Other Species to Low-volume Partial Cutting Every 30 Years in Interior Douglas-fir Forest in Central British Columbia Waterhouse, Michaela J.
2023
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D
Abstract: In the early 1980s, wildlife managers were concerned about the effects of traditional timber harvesting methods on the sustainability of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) populations in interior Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca) forests within the central interior of British Columbia. Research on habitat requirements and a low-volume, single-tree selection silvicultural system experiment at Knife Creek near Williams Lake, B.C. helped inform legal management requirements for mule deer winter range. In 20132014, 30 years after the first harvest entry at the Knife Creek site, the long-term effects of the original harvest were assessed using winter track counts, an index of relative habitat preference, on the original transects of the 19841991 study. A second harvest entry in the singletree selection system was conducted in 2014. Post-harvest winter track densities were measured from 2015 to 2019. Mule deer track densities were similar among the first post-harvest period (19841991) and second entry pre-harvest period (20132014) in the original single-tree selection and no-harvest control treatments, which suggests that the first harvest entry had no long-term effects on mule deer winter habitat use. Pre-harvest (20132014) track densities of mule deer and red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) were similar among the single-tree selection and no-harvest control treatments, which further supports evidence of no longterm effects. Winter habitat use by mule deer and red squirrel appeared to be unaffected by the 2014 harvest entry: track densities were similar in both treatments during both moderate (2540 cm) and deep (> 40 cm) snow conditions from 2015 to 2019. Post-harvest track counts for marten (Martes americana) and coyote/fox (Canis latrans/Vulpes vulpes) were much lower during deep snow conditions than moderate conditions in both treatments. This study demonstrates that mule deer winter habitat can be successfully managed using the low-volume, single-tree selection silvicultural system with set minimal residual basal area targets and a 30-year cutting cycle. Furthermore, a diverse community of winter wildlife species continued to use the partially cut forest post-harvest.
 
Waterhouse, Michaela J., Walton, Russell. 2023. Response by Wintering Mule Deer and Other Species to Low-volume Partial Cutting Every 30 Years in Interior Douglas-fir Forest in Central British Columbia. Ministry of Forests. Technical Report (FLNRORD). TR148
 
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
Keywords: Partial cutting, Interior Douglas-fir forest, single-tree selection silvicultural system
ISSN:  Scientific Name: Odocoileus hemionus, Canis latrans, Martes americana, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus
ISBN: 978-1-0399-0031-8 English Name: Mule Deer, Coyote, Red Squirrel, Marten
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