Forest Investment Account

Abstract of FIA Project 2244005

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Results of operational trials to manage coarse woody debris in the Northern Interior: interim report

Author(s): Lloyd, Ruth A.
Imprint: Telkwa, B.C. : The Author, 2004
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), Coarse woody debris, Forest ecology, British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program - Innovative

Abstract

Coarse Woody Debris (CWD) is defined as 'dead woody material, in various stages of decomposition, located above the soil, larger than 7.5cm diameter and not self-supporting' (MoF and MELP, 1998). It plays several major roles in forest ecosystems, including maintaining forest productivity, providing habitat for vertebrates and invertebrates, contributing to soil and slope stability, and providing long-term carbon storage (Stevens, 1997). In an unmanaged forest, most trees fall and decay in situ, thus contributing to CWD on the ground. In a managed forest, many or most trees are removed during commercial harvesting operations. There will therefore be a decline in the amount of dead wood allowed to remain and decay within managed stands, with a corresponding decline in its ability to fulfil its ecological roles. Recent studies have shown that forest harvesting results in changes to CWD attributes, relative to those found in unharvested stands (e.g. Lloyd, 2003; Adams, 2002; Densmore et al., in prep.). In particular, while overall CWD volumes are often lower after harvest, there is a marked decrease in volume contributed by large (diameter) and long pieces. This has negative implications for CWD-dependent wildlife, invertebrate and plant species, many of which prefer or require large pieces, and also for CWD longevity in the ecosystem (small pieces decay more quickly and will not last the rotation). In 2002, a pilot study was undertaken jointly by B.C. Ministry of Forests, Houston Forest Products Ltd. and the Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada (FERIC) to assess the costs and benefits of using clump retention to improve CWD management at the stand level. Its primary recommendation was that to maximize operational practicality and minimize machine damage to retained logs, CWD should be managed within clumps that include large and/or long logs, together with immature and deciduous trees, stubs and other habitat elements (Lloyd, 2004). In 2003, it was decided to assess the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of these recommendations in a series of three operational trials, located in the Morice and Lakes TSAs, in the SBSdk, SBSmc2 and ESSFmc biogeoclimatic subzones. This report describes the results of these operational trials.


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Updated August 02, 2006 

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