Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project Y073045

    Species accounting system to integrate indicators of biological diversity
Project lead: Bunnell, Fred
Contributing Authors: Bunnell, Fred L.; Vernier, Pierre R.; Kremsater, Laurie L.; Houde, Isabelle
Imprint: Vancouver, BC : University of British Columbia, 2007
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), Species Diversity, British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
Although the project addresses several topics within the FSP Sustainability program, it best fits theme 3: Sustainable forest management indicators, targets and monitoring systems. Within that theme it best fits topic 3.1 'indicators and monitoring systems' a funding priority for 2005/06. The project delivers a decision-support tool that integrates major indicators of biodiversity in a scientifically credible and publicly acceptable fashion for a large area in the East Kootenays. To help ensure scientific credibility, the projects incorporates field data for two disparate groups of organisms: songbirds and lichens. These were selected to challenge the tool and ensure requisite breadth. Specific objectives are to: 1) Provide a credible, integrated measure of success in sustaining biodiversity in managed forests. 2) Provide an analytical tool that permits integration of economic values and ecological values from ground to final product. 3) Provide a tool that facilitates exploration of different approaches to forest planning and their consequences to ecological and economic values. Most indicators for biodiversity reduce to three broad features: ecosystem representation (poorly known species and functions), habitat amount, structure, and distribution (better known species), and organisms themselves (species known well enough to interpret their responses). Each indicator represents species, which are the primary concern of the public and the ultimate test of management intended to sustain biodiversity. Species also are a credible scientific surrogate for concepts imbedded in the term 'biodiversity'. Currently, no tool integrates contributions indexed by each indicator. An integrated system is not straightforward, because the indicators assess contributions at different scales, and the scales are complementary. Planning over broad areas influences required practices at the stand level and vice versa. The species accounting system permits that integration. The system recognizes that whatever practices are invoked there are local winners and losers. The goal is to account for the likely presence of the species somewhere in the management area at all times. For that to occur, the area must be large enough to permit the natural turnover of species (the study area exceeds 1 million ha). The intent of each major indicator must be addressed within the system. At submission we anticipated that by March 2004, the ecosystem representation analysis would be complete. That proved true and the analysis permits credible surrogates for unknown and poorly known species. Also by March 2004, we anticipated that an agreed upon system for describing stand structure would be available and methods of projecting stand structure would have been explored. That also proved true and permits relating better-known species to stand-level elements by simple habitat-supply models. There are three more steps: 1) providing a scientifically credible way of simplifying the task (there are about 200 vertebrate species present in each area); 2) providing credibility to the habitat-supply models; 3) dealing effectively with habitat distribution for species that respond to connectivity or patch size. The first step will be addressed by grouping species into 3 categories: 1) those little affected by forest practices, 2) those strongly responsive to particular habitat elements or groups of elements, or discrete habitat types, and 3) those for which the distribution of habitat appears important. The second step will employ blind tests of models against data currently in-hand (with Tembec) and field surveys of another group of organisms believed to respond to habitat in a very different ways (lichens). The third step requires expressing dispersal capability and home range size against a spatially explicit background of habitat distribution and structure. Potential algorithms have been explored within Simfor, but have not been evaluated. The 3 broad objectives cannot be credibly attained within a single year, but progress can be made on all three and the framework necessary for objective 1 can be completed.
Related projects:  FSP_Y051045FSP_Y062045


Final Report (0.3Mb)
Monitoring Plan for Biological Diversity in the Radium DFA (0.4Mb)
Vertebrate Species Accounting System for the Radium DFA (0.2Mb)

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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