Ecosystem Restoration Program

One of the key issues dominating the Rocky Mountain Trench has been the succession of open range and open forests to a more closed forest condition, termed "forest ingrowth" by many.  The resulting pressure on the remaining forage has created scarcity issues for herbivores, both domestic and wild.  Over the past 10 years, the ecosystem restoration program has conducted many operations dedicated to restoring key balances of open range, open forests and managed forests in the Rocky Mountain Trench.  This is an important committment approved in the Kootenay Boundary Land Use Plan and has the involvement of many partners.  Planning and coordination is headed by the Trench Steering Committee, chaired by the Forest Service.  Implementation of thinning and burning projects is conducted primarily by Forest Service staff.  The following two photos contrast the scale of natural afforestation between 1951 and 1995

Premier Ridge - 1951.

Premier Ridge - 1995

In 1995, when the District's ecosystem restoration planning was spearheaded, closed forest areas were now being logged and slashed in the effort to revert them back to open range or open forest and maintain them in that state.  The following plan "Blueprint for Action" was designed to move the initiative forward and is still the basic terms of reference for the ER plans and activities.  This plan was updated in 2006

Blueprint for Action

Sign recognising contribution of partners in burning program.

Photo of Johnson Lake burn one week after ignition.

Open Forest Stand

Monitoring of ecosystem restoration treatments (harvesting,slashing, burning) is an integral part of the District's range inventory program.  The following report details some of the findings with respect to monitoring past and present effects of restorative treatments.  To view the report see the following link