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Implications of management practices for mitigating Mountain Pine Beetle on ecosystem production and soil-based indicators of SFM
Day, Steven
Maintaining ecosystem productivity is fundamental to the principles of sustainable forest management (SFM) and yet effective methods for measuring and monitoring the impacts of management activities on ecosystem production are not well developed. The latter task is particularly challenging for many interior BC forest companies because activities designed to mitigate the future risk of damage to stands by Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) could potentially compromise SFM goals and objectives. In this proposal, the impact of a variety of management options on projected stand susceptibility to MPB is evaluated within the context of one of Canfor?s soil-based indicators of SFM using a combination of field measurements and model simulations. Soil health is critical to SFM Soil is a vital element of healthy forest ecosystems and soil protection and enhancement is essential if forest management is to be sustainable. The recovery of an ecosystem following disturbance depends heavily on the degree to which soil-based processes are disrupted. As yet, there is no generally accepted method for quantifying the impacts of management activities on soil function and, hence, ecosystem recovery. One approach, the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers Criteria and Indicator system, uses a set of soil quality indicators to assess functional ability, and measure changes in function over time (CCFM 2003). Unfortunately, quantitative relationships between most conventional soil indicators and long-term forest productivity (a basic tenet of Sustainable Forest Management) are lacking (Nambiar 1996, Staddon et al. 1999). This issue will not be resolved any time soon due to the long time frames required before field results can be considered as definitive. This proposal provides a solution by linking empirical measures of a given soil-based indicator with an ecosystem model to project targets for that indicator and compare them against thresholds of long-term productivity. This protocol was developed with funding from a previous FIA project (2004), and an FSP-funded study (project Y06-1143). The thresholds represent an early warning that forest management practices are compromising a given SFM indicator such that, when measures violate threshold boundaries, this should trigger remedial actions. Criterion 2 of the SFM Framework developed by Canfor (see Robinson 2002) is concerned with maintaining the productive capacity of forest ecosystems within the Timber Harvesting Landbase (THLB). One of its principal indicators is 2-1: Biological components of forest soils are sustained. Two useful measures for this indicator are forest floor mass and soil organic matter (SOM)(see Seely 2005). Mitigating risk of MPB outbreak could compromise soil-based indicators of SFM The Quesnel timber supply area is dominated by stands of lodgepole pine (Pl). Extensive mortality of pine-dominated stands by MPB has occurred and there is a concentrated effort to harvest the recently-killed and any remaining susceptible stands. Of principle concern to forest managers now is how to regenerate these stands. This issue is particularly pressing because regional harvest projections indicate a significant timber volume shortfall over the next 25 ? 60 years. Lodgepole pine is fast-growing and well adapted to the region and so one option is to restore the original pine-dominated forests. This tactic could simply re-create the forest conditions that triggered the original outbreak problem. According to Shore and Safranyik (1992), stand susceptibility to MPB attack can be predicted as a function of susceptible basal area, age, density, and location; the first three variables can be influenced by management practices. One way to mitigate susceptibility then is by planting pine at very low densities (300-500 sph; Whitehead and Russo 2005, see Shore and Safranyik 1992). As a general rule this approach is unsatisfactory since mature stands will likely not develop sufficient merchantable volume ...
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Executive Summary
Extension Note
Final Report
Managing for timber volume and Mountain Pine Beetle susceptibility

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