Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project Y072072

    Framework for Documenting the Effects of the Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreak in Sub-Boreal Forests of Northern BC
Project lead: DeLong, Craig
Contributing Authors: Heemskerk, Ben; DeLong, Craig; Milner, Tanya
Imprint: Prince George, B.C. : B.C. Ministry of Forests, 2007
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), Dendroctonus Ponderosae, British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FSP Theme: Stand and forest dynamics following mountain pine beetle (MPB). This project will determine ecosystem changes over time in response to MPB. The findings will help predict: 1) growth and yield and biodiversity implications of not harvesting MPB stands; 2) windthrow and decomposition dynamics of pine trees killed by MPB; and 3) impacts to caribou habitat and movement. This MPB outbreak offers the opportunity to examine the ecological and economic benefits and tradeoffs of 3 potential management options: no interference, the use of prescribed burning, and conventional timber harvesting. Large areas of the northern interior landscape can or will be managed in these manners with little appreciation of their impact on stand dynamics and habitat values. This proposal seeks to set up a multi-purpose monitoring framework for facilitating the efficient evaluation and reporting of stand-level attributes and consequences of the outbreak. Data collected for this project will provide a much-needed understanding of: Ecological changes and value of unique stand features (e.g., wildlife tree types) of unsalvaged and burned unsalvaged MPB stands; Forest regeneration and non-crop vegetation dynamics of unmanaged and burned MPB stands; Timber supply (regen delay, growth, yield) consequences of leaving MPB stands untreated; Relative ecological and timber supply benefits of burning unsalvaged MPB stands; and Changes in lichen abundance and rate of tree fall, as they impact caribou habitat quality. Based on preliminary work conducted by research team members and collaborators (see 'Links' section), this project seeks to install an integrated monitoring network across the range of the current MPB outbreak in the Northern Interior Forest Region. We propose to: Develop trends in tree fall, advanced regeneration performance, natural regeneration success, understory vegetation and lichen composition and development, and functional habitat value of trees and CWD with time since MPB attack; Relate these dynamics to differences in climate and site; and Provide and publicize the existence of a common framework and baseline data for a number of other studies (e.g., entomological, hydrological, genetic, modelling) which may require a spatio-temporal framework for assessing MPB outbreak dynamics and impacts Permanent sample plots will be established in severely attacked stands 2-5 ha in size (providing enough space for a buffer and for destructive sampling), and will be established in 3 of the biogeoclimatic units currently impacted by the MPB. It is proposed that mesic sites (01 site series) be sampled in the SBSdk (mostly Nadina Forest District), SBSmc2 (mostly Nadina) and/or SBSmc3 (mostly Vanderhoof District), and SBSdw3 (Vanderhoof and Prince George Districts). In this manner, trends can be used to extrapolate responses expected under climate change. Over 2 of the biogeoclimatic units, dry lichen sites (02 site series) will also be sampled. We expect to establish 10 plots in each of these stand types (maximum 50 plots). Where possible a proportion of the plots will be established within recent wildfires (3 identified in Vanderhoof at present) or prescribed burns (see Linkages). We will obtain comparative information from salvaged areas from licensees or other projects (see Linkages). We will review the intended plot selection with Ministry and licensee personnel and accommodate suggested changes if a clear need is identified. Baseline measurements in the 30 m x 30 m plots will include: 1) stand structure measurements (height, dbh, live crown ratio, CWD) following RIC standards and numbering of each tree with aluminum tags; 2) complete stem mapping in 4 or 5 of the sampled stands, selected to represent a range of initial stand structures and compositions; 3) classification of each tree using the functional wildlife and CWD classification criteria developed by Keisker (2000); 4) a complete vegetation assessment according to RIC standards, with specialized modifications or additional techniques (e.g., % cover monitoring over a fixed 30-m line transect) suitable for multi-year monitoring; and 5) regeneration assessment for all trees not included in the stand structure assessment (i.e., <1.3 m tall).
Related projects:  FSP_Y061072FSP_Y083072


Executive Summary (25Kb)
Establishment Report (0.7Mb)
Article (36Kb)

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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