Stand Management Prescription Guidebook

Table of contents

Steps for creating a stand management prescription

The following steps are recommended for creating a SMP:

    1. identify and collect background information - identification and determination of management areas and objectives
    2. conduct the SMP field work - field work/data collection including: forest health and protection, significant habitat features, soil conservation and fine tuning of stand structural objectives
    3. if the area is not considered suitable for treatments a SMP should not be developed
    4. prepare the final prescription - this guideline specifies the required level of detail
    5. produce the final map.

Identify and collect background information

Assembly of plans and management information

Block identification and assessment of management objectives involves gathering pertinent plans and resource information and preparing for field work. The following process is intended for the creation of SMP on areas, with either no SPs, or for areas with older SPs that do not contain a description of target stand conditions and management practices.

A person preparing a stand management prescription:

    1. should consider the result of any free growing survey carried out on the area
    2. must ensure that the prescription is consistent with the resource objectives contained in any higher level plans for the area.

The stand management prescription for the area:

    1. should contain a reference to any higher level plan for the area under the prescription that guides the formulation of the prescription
    2. must describe the stand-level objectives for the area
    3. must describe the location of the area.

Free growing status - Stand management prescriptions must not be submitted for approval or implemented until SP obligations for the area have been met.

Set stand-level resource objectives

Within the SMP, the management objectives should:

Higher level plans - SMP objectives must be consistent with objectives contained in higher level plans. Where there are no such plans, resource management plans and other resource agencies should be consulted for input to determine suitable resource management objectives for the area.

First Nations issues - The SMP must be consistent with the Heritage Conservation Act. Where available, traditional use overview studies and archaeological impact studies should be consulted. Any questions or concerns should be directed to the district Aboriginal forestry advisor of the Ministry of Forests.

Resource value objectives - The SMP should consider all resource values previously identified for the area. Resource values may be specified either in higher level plans or during the forest development plan (FDP) process. The following are examples of strategies to accommodate specific resource values:

Stand structure and composition goals - The SMP must specify the post-treatment site conditions and the proposed strategies, if any, to be taken to mitigate the impacts on non-timber resources on or adjacent to the area.

Damaging agents - the SMP must specify the occurrence of forest health factors that are currently causing damage, and strategies, if any, for control of those health factors must be specified in the SMP.

Other objectives - the SMP should also specify any other management objectives. The SMP should specify actions to reduce fire hazard, to prevent the reduction of site and soil productivity, or propose any other management actions needed. Management objectives may be provided through district manager policy for SMPs.

Pre-stratify the proposed SMP area

Pre-stratification of a block on an aerial photo prior to a field visit provides the opportunity to become familiar with the site. At this level of detail it is easier to stratify large parts of the block to meet specific higher-level management objectives. This pre-stratification should be based on local surface or terrain features, vegetation, special areas, previous survey data (e.g., opening file information), or other factors that may influence the prescription.

Conducting the stand management prescription field work

Stand stratification and mapping

Once the block has been identified as a possible candidate for silvicultural treatments through plans and/or reconnaissance, the block should be assessed on the ground to create the SMP. The field assessment may be a walkthrough of the block to identify distinct management units and to clarify stand-level resource objectives. This walkthrough should be similar to field data collection for the SP. If the area is ready for a stand tending activity, particularly spacing, a pre-stand tending survey may be conducted.

When conducting the pre-stand tending survey, the contractor, licensee or ministry staff should consider the information that will be required to guide subsequent activities for the stand (such as pruning after spacing). Increased efficiency can be realized through tailoring the current data collection and prescription development to minimize the administration, cost and work required in subsequent treatment activities.

A walkthrough or pre-stand tending survey should be used to provide a preliminary screening of suitablility for treatment. Areas that are not suitable for treatment can be ruled out at this stage.

Standards units

Standards units (SUs) must be described in the SMP and indicated on the attached map(s). A SU in the SMP is defined as an area covered by the prescription that will be managed through the uniform application of standards. The standards established for these units must be used during treatment and for inspections after treatments have been completed.

In the SMP, the SU is the basis for determining the achievement of target stand objectives through the prescribed silviculture activities. For example, if two distinctly different post-spacing densities are prescribed for two similar ecosystems within a block, two SUs must be created.

Biogeoclimatic ecosystem classification

The SMP must, for each SU, specify the biogeoclimatic ecosystem classification (BEC) for the area. Prior to visiting the block, a biogeoclimatic map should be used to identify the broad site classification for the area. Once on site, the zone, sub-zone and variant classification should be confirmed. Regional guidebooks for ecosystem identification should be used to assist in identifying the site series within the block and developing appropriate SUs.


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