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Soil conservation

General objective

  • To ensure that harvesting and silviculture activities are conducted in a manner that protects, maintains, or enhances the long-term productivity of forest soils and minimizes the risks of landslides and sediment delivery to streams.

The silviculture prescription must describe certain soil characteristics, disturbance limits, and hazard ratings required for the protection of the soil resource. The Soil Conservation Guidebook provides additional information on this topic.

Silviculture prescriptions must provide the following information:

Maximum proportion of the area in permanent access structures

The silviculture prescription must set out the maximum proportion, if any, of the total area under the prescription that may be occupied by roads, landings, gravel pits, permanent logging trails, and other permanent access structures.

Permanent logging trails include excavated or bladed skid trails and any other trails required for repeated stand entries for partial cutting silvicultural systems.

The Soil Conservation Guidebook provides definitions and guidance in deriving the maximum proportion of the area in permanent access structures. A sample calculation is provided below (see "Proportion of total area occupied by permanent access structures").

Maximum soil disturbance in the net area to be reforested

The silviculture prescription must set out the maximum proportion, if any, of the net area to be reforested that may be occupied by soil disturbance.

The Soil Conservation Guidebook provides recommended limits for soil disturbance that relate to the sensitivity of the site to disturbance.

Temporary access structures

Temporary access structures include:

These access structures are included in the net area to be reforested and must be constructed to facilitate restoration of productivity.

Where temporary access structures are proposed in a silviculture prescription, the maximum time to complete rehabilitation, measured from the time harvesting is complete, must be included.

Specify the maximum proportion, if any, that soil disturbance limits (as stated above) may be temporarily exceeded to construct temporary access structures.

Bladed or excavated trails

Bladed or excavated trails are those constructed with an excavated or bladed width greater than 1.5 m and a depth of cut into the mineral soil greater than 30 cm.

The silviculture prescription must identify:

A statement must be included in the prescription document that specifies that the construction of excavated or bladed trails complies with sections 7(4), 8(3), and 8(4) of the Timber Harvesting Practices Regulation.

Figure 22. Example of soil conservation section.

Proportion of total area occupied by permanent access structures

To calculate the proportion of permanent access structures within the area of the SP, use the definition of total area as described in the area summary of the stocking standards section of this guidebook.

Given information (example):

Total area under the prescription = 49.5 ha

Permanent roads (planned) = 1.3 ha

Permanent landings (planned) = four landings @ 0.2 ha each = 0.8 ha

Borrow pit (planned) = 0.2 ha

Area of landing (temporary) = 0.2 ha

Area of bladed skid trail (temporary) = 0.02 ha

Proportion of area occupied by permanent access structures:

= 4.6%

Note that, in this example, an additional 0.2 ha landing and a 0.02 ha return trail are required but they are to be rehabilitated, and therefore are considered temporary access and are not included in the permanent access calculation.

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