Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project Y072071

    Modeling the effects of forest management activities on the availability of early seral ungulate browse in the upper Columbia Valley
Project lead: Vyse, Alan
Author: Vyse, Alan
Imprint: Kamloops. BC : Thompson Rivers University., 2007
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), Ungulates, British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
4.1.3 Species at risk recovery research The Mountain Caribou has been identified federally and provincially as a Species at Risk. A scientific panel (Messier et al. 2004) has recommended that the local landscape be managed to decrease early-seral conditions as a way of rebuilding populations of endangered mountain caribou in the Revelstoke area. The panel argued that low elevation logging has increased the food supply for ungulates, that the population of these species has increased, that the increased ungulate populations have led to increased populations of wolves and cougars, and that these predator species, in combination with black and grizzly bears as well as wolverines, have led to reductions in the local population of mountain caribou. This proposition is supported by the recent work of Wittmer (2004) in British Columbia who found that adult female caribou had lower survival rates in areas that contained more early-seral forests. The panel suggested that vegetation conditions could be modified by silvicultural activities or reductions in rate of cut. The major forest licensees in Revelstoke acted on this recommendation and have installed a field experiment to test the idea that high densities of planted seedlings in newly logged areas will reduce the amount of ungulate forage. They also plan to develop a landscape level early-seral vegetation management plan to guide activities over the next decade using an adaptive management approach. Such a plan requires forecasting the cumulative effects of alternative approaches and funding levels over time, and across the landscape, to decide on the most appropriate set of options. Once actions have been taken, the plan also needs to account for the actual cumulative effects, both as a way of guiding future activities and as a way of communicating the results of licensee efforts to wildlife managers and the public. The licensees expect that the plan will facilitate communication between the various groups of managers and interested members of the community. Our research proposal is being submitted at the request of the Revelstoke licensees and has three phases. In the first phase we will review and report on quantitative and qualitative vegetation responses to vegetation management activities such as manual cutting, herbicide application, and modified timber management activities such as partial cutting and stand density management. Vegetation responses to ongoing operational timber management activities such as road building, logging, and reforestation will also be reviewed. The focus will be on key ungulate forage species (Serrouya and D’Eon 2002). The report will include a computerized data base to permit easy access to data in the course of future planning activities with our partners. The data base will build on the work already accomplished under PROBE (Simard et al. 2001) and work reported by Bartemucci (2004), Steen and Smith (1991) and Steen (1993). We will also review the available modeling tools for predicting vegetation response over time and space. This first phase will identify a simple and practical modeling approach as well as gaps in our knowledge of vegetation response. In the second phase we will sample vegetation response to management activities in the Columbia valley, stratifying for ecological conditions and focusing on the key browse species. This information will be combined with existing vegetation response data and used to predict vegetation responses. We expect to use a meta-modeling approach in which the output from a detailed stand-level model is encapsulated in a simpler landscape level model, probably written in the SELES language. The third phase will engage the project scientists with forest managers and the species recovery team in the development of a 1st approximation vegetation management plan that will specifying operational harvesting and silvicultural techniques and monitoring methods to be applied in the Columbia Valley in order to reduce the availability of ungulate browse.
Related projects:  FSP_Y061071
Contact: Vyse, Alan, (250) 372-8607,


Executive Summary (26Kb)

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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