Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project Y081249

    Planted regeneration survival and growth, and natural regeneration composition and abundance, within three post-harvest stand structures in silvicultural system trials in the wet Interior Cedar Hemlock subzones of east-central British Columbia
 
Project lead: Jull, Michael (University of Northern British Columbia)
Contributing Authors: Eastham, Andrea M.; Jull, Michael J.
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
Description:
One of the key forest management issues addressed by many established long-term silvicultural systems trials is the feasibility, efficacy, and sustainability of timber management under partial cut and clearcut systems. The challenge to regenerating conifers in complex or multi-cohort stands is the above and below ground competition from both the overstory trees and the understory vegetation (Harrington 2006). The goal of this project is to compare planted and natural regeneration performance to date across a range of stand structure types previously created by harvesting in the wet ICH subzones, in a series of established, long-term silviculture systems studies that include clearcut and partial cut systems with different size openings. The proposed project meets this goal by: collection of field data, data handling, analysis, synthesis, reporting in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and extension of results to operational practitioners. This proposed research project will undertake the first major remeasurement and assessment of regeneration response in the Northern Wetbelt Silvicultural System study sites since establishment of the trial and collection of initial baseline data in 2001-2002, and a new remeasurement of regeneration elements of the Fleet Creek Trial. These data are core measurements in the original working plans for all the study sites and are key to our understanding of conifer regeneration response to different stand structural types to meet forest management goals for current regeneration, habitat requirements and planned future entries into the stand. All the study sites described below are under the Northern Wetbelt Silvicultural Systems Project. Collected data will be entered into our central database through data-entry templates and an updated database generated for use by all team members. The database is managed by Industrial Forestry Service Ltd. (IFS) and housed at UNBC (Mike Jull). Our data management system insures data quality, integrity, and availability of all datasets to researchers on the Northern Wetbelt Silvicultural Systems team. There are three discrete, but linked, components to this project: 1) Fleet Creek Group Selection Trial, 2) Northern Wetbelt Silvicultural Systems Trial ICH sites, and 3) Minnow Creek ICHwk3 Four Species Trial. A working plan is available for the Fleet Creek Trial (Stevenson et al, 1996). A working plan and establishment report are available for the Northern Wetbelt Silvicultural System Project (Jull et al 1998, and Jull et al, 2002, respectively; see web site at: http://wetbelt.unbc.ca/). Improved knowledge of the early forest dynamics in response to various stand structural types from this project will provide direction to forest practitioners managing ICH forests for multiple resources. 1) Fleet Creek Group Selection Trial: A pilot project initiated in 1994 in an approximately 300-year-old, multi-storied stand of western redcedar, western hemlock, hybrid spruce, subalpine fir, and scattered Douglas-fir in the Goat River Wet Cool Interior Cedar-Hemlock subzone (ICHwk3). The stand is adjacent to a Caribou High zone, in an area designated as Caribou Corridor. Fleet is the oldest silvicultural systems trial in the wetbelt. The stand was harvested on snow in the winter of 1994 to create 0.24-ha openings in a group selection system. More site and harvesting detail is available at https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/rni/Research/Extension_notes/PG20_fleetcreek.pdf. The purpose of the trial is to address caribou habitat and conifer regeneration on the same ground. Openings were planted in 1995 to spruce, Douglas-fir, and western redcedar with no site preparation. Natural/advanced regeneration was assessed pre-harvest and has been monitored post-harvest with and without site preparation. Results have assisted researchers in the northern and southern interior to plan other studies and select treatments. This study is comparable to the study site in the central interior northeast of Horsefly, BC established in 1997 (EP1212). An assessment of the status of regeneration in the openings at Fleet will be used by other researchers working at Fleet on caribou habitat, stand development, and harvesting. 2) Northern Wetbelt Silvicultural Systems Trial ICH sites: The Northern Wetbelt Silvicultural Systems Project (NWSS) was established between March 2000 and 2001, and is a long-term study designed to investigate the ecological and silvicultural outcomes of different stand structure types created by harvesting including clearcut, partial cut methods, and uncut controls. The four post-harvest stand structures are replicated at three ICH sites: Minnow (ICHwk3), East Twin (ICHwk3), and Lunate Creeks (ICHvk2). The continued monitoring of all tree species in permanent sample plots (PSP) is part of the original working plan for this long-term study. Post-harvest PSPs were established in each treatment unit and regeneration is monitored on four smaller plots nested within each PSP. The three sites were operationally planted with western redcedar and interior spruce in 2001/02. Planted seedlings were tagged for future identification within the naturals and advanced regeneration. The data collected within this project will be available for use by all researchers working within the NWSS project. Although the purpose of this project is an assessment of conifer regeneration, the results are of value to researchers focused on habitat and use by wildlife, stand development, and stand management. The Northern Wetbelt project team has cooperated and assisted in the establishment of the Isaiah Creek ICH silvicultural system trial undertaken by the BC Ministry of Forests at Quesnel Lake, BC, in cooperation with West Fraser Ltd (established 2006). The Northern Wetbelt project and allied studies parallel aspects of the Date Creek Project in the coastal-transition ICH subzones of the northwest BC (Dave Coates, Research Silviculturist, BC Ministry of Forests, Smithers). We also work with researchers in the southern interior to develop successful regeneration scenarios in the wet ICH subzones within different stand structural types and habitat requirements, i.e, Experimental Project 1212 by the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Research Branch, Michaela Waterhouse, Project Leader. 3) Minnow Creek ICHwk3 Four Species Trial: The trial is located at the Minnow Creek site described above. Four species, spruce, western redcedar, lodgepole pine and Douglas-fir, were planted in the summer of 2001 in three stand structures that represent a range of opening sizes and seedling exposure. Seedlings are assessed across the range of residual stand structures and distance from stand edges. The trees were last assessed in October 2003 (FII Research Project RC02-18). Survival was high at the time, but vegetation was beginning to respond and compete for light and growing space.

    Deliverables:

Extended Abstract (0.1Mb)
Northern Wetbelt Silvicultural Systems Project (25Kb)
Fleet Creek Data (20Kb)
Planted Assessment Data (20Kb)

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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