February 28, 2005                                                                      Your P.O.: 

Our File:     04POPOKA02

 

 

Mr. James Graham, R.P.F.

Planning Supervisor

Pope & Talbot Ltd. Midway Operations

P.O. Box 70

Highway 3

Midway, B.C.   V0H 1M0

 

James,

Enclosed is the short letter report and data disk, along with our final invoice, for the past years work on the Fiva Creek Deer Winter Range Study.

 

Please call me if you have any questions or require additional information.

 

 

 

 

Sincerely

INTERIOR REFORESTATION CO. LTD.

 

 

 

 

J.E. Przeczek, R.P.F.

Senior Forester

Enclosure:   report, data disk, invoice


Fiva Creek Deer Winter Range Study, 2005 Final Report

Introduction

Previous years of study in the Boundary Forest District have documented a low occurrence of palatable shrub cover, especially saskatoon, within white-tailed and mule deer winter ranges. In response to concerns about the low quality and occurrence of forage, this study has been developed to test the effects of silviculture treatments combined with burning on forage production and white-tailed and mule deer use of winter ranges. Over seven years, this study will investigate how deer habitat quality and diet composition are influenced by a series of treatments involving patch cutting, variable density tree retention and burning. The goals of this study are 1) to determine the response of vegetation (with a focus on deer forage and cover) to two ecosystem restoration treatments; and 2) to determine the response of deer diets to two ecosystem restoration treatments proposed in Fiva Creek.

In 2004, year two of the seven-year study, Interior Reforestation (IR) continued with habitat sampling. The objectives for this year were to 1) prepare vegetation plots to ensure that they can be relocated after harvesting and burning treatments are complete and 2) identify, permanently mark and measure shrub pairs for long term monitoring.

 

Methods

On September 13-16 2004, a 2-person crew from IR prepared vegetation plots and assessed shrub pairs for the medium retention and high contrast sites. We relocated each of the 20 vegetation plot (10 for each treatment) using recorded UTM co-ordinates and a hand-held global positioning system (GPS). Whenever possible, we found the metal centre pin used to mark each vegetation plot. Centre pins were re-painted and the area around the pin was flagged to ensure if could be relocated in the future. If the centre pin could not be found (typically because harvesting activities had substantially disturbed the ground and potentially moved the pin), we added a new centre pin and assigned the pin a new number with a metal tag. Both the original and new pin numbers were recorded.

General information was recorded at each vegetation plot, including plot number (original and where applicable new), date, observers, and site (high contrast or medium retention). From each centre pin we took digital photographs to the north, south, east and west, and recorded the photo numbers.

Saskatoon shrubs for long term monitoring were selected, marked and measured within a 50-m radius of the centre pin. At each plot, we located 3 shrub pairs, where a pair consisted of two shrubs that were similar in height and volume (to the extent possible). All attempts were made to select shrubs less than 1 m high and 1 m wide, to accommodate cages. However occasionally there were only larger colonies to select from. In these instances, we pinned a spot within the colony and measured the shrub in only one direction from the pin (e.g., everything to the north of the pin). These specifics were recorded on data sheets. Occasionally there were less then 3 shrub pairs available at a particular vegetation plot; if so we simply made note of this. We marked each shrub with a flat-topped re-bar stake and a metal tag with a unique number. The re-bar was painted with red paint.

For each shrub pair, we recorded the pair number (1, 2 or 3), metal tag number, bearing and distance from the centre pin and general characteristics (e.g., few stemmed). We also recorded several measurements to enable shrub volume calculations[1]. First, we determined the centre of the crown, which was the midpoint of stem diameters in all directions. Then, we measured the diameter across live stems at a random bearing, and then 24, 90 and 135 degrees from this random bearing (for a total of 4 diameter values). We also measured height at 90% of the volume and maximum height.

All data forms were photocopied and all data were entered into an Excel spreadsheet. Photographs were burned onto a CD. Data analyses were not conducted due to budget constraints.

 

Objectives for 2005/2006

The objectives for 2005/2006 are as follows:

1.       Analyse deer pellet data. In 2003/2004 deer pellets were collected from control and treated sites in early and late winter, to enable analyses of deer diet over time. The collected pellets were not yet analysed due to budget constraints and should therefore be sent to a lab for analysis in 2005/06.

2.       Relocate plots. Following burning, vegetation plots should be relocated and markings (flagging tapes, pins, etc.) should be re-established as required. This should also be done for vegetation plots at the control site.

3.       Locate and mark shrub pairs at the control site. Following methods described in this letter report, select and mark 3 shrub pairs for each of the 10 vegetation plots at the control site.

4.       Purchase and install shrub cages (exclosures). For each shrub pair at the control and treated sites, randomly select 1 shrub to enclose and set up a cage on the selected shrub.

5.       Collect shrub data. Following burning at the treatment sites and anytime at the control site, record data for shrub volume calculations following the methods in this letter report. Consider supplementing these measurements with additional data (e.g., photographs, grid cover estimates) to account for varying levels of stem density among shrubs.

 



[1] Following Murray, R. B. and M. Q. Jacobson. 1982. An evaluation of dimension analysis for predicting shrub biomass. Journal of Range Management 35(4): 451-454.