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A review of literature and data, and recommended practices relevant to management of coarse woody debris in the Prince George Timber Supply Area
Timberline Forest Inventory Consultants Ltd.
The ecological role coarse woody debris (CWD) plays in ecosystem structure, function and biological diversity has been acknowledged by many scientists around the world. The retention of CWD in a broad range of sizes and decay classes, particularly larger pieces, contributes significantly to biodiversity objectives for managed areas. There are many good reviews of CWD literature, some of which have been prepared specifically for forests in British Columbia. In this document we limit our discussion to findings that relate specifically to the forests within the study area. We also summarize available data for ecosystems similar to those we intend to examine and suggest management practices that can be presently adopted that can improve CWD management. It is well documented that CWD provides a variety of functions for many of the wildlife species inhabiting the forest types occurring within the study area. Less is known about the role of CWD as habitat for non-vascular plants although this is well documented for similar forest types in Scandinavia. Although data is limited for biogeoclimatic units occurring within the proposed study area there is an abundance of data for ecologically equivalent forest types in biogeoclimatic units in adjacent areas. A very large range in CWD volumes (0-807 m3/ha) occurs in the available data for ecologically equivalent sites within the proposed study area however these extremes are likely due to the small transects (as short as 15m) used in some studies. Average volume between 100-200 m3/ha seem to typify mesic sites with lower volumes occurring on dry sites and higher volumes on wet rich sites. There will always be fundamental differences between unmanaged and managed forests due to the nature of harvesting, which removes wood from the site however the differences can be reduced by adopting certain management practices. The retention of groups of non-merchantable stems protected by high stumps where larger pieces of CWD can be placed seems to be a management strategy that can improve CWD management at relatively low cost. by Colin Mahony.
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