Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project L077005

    Silvicultural systems to maintain northern caribou habitat in lodgepole pine forests in central BC: Long term maintenance [2006/07 Project Decription Only]
Project lead: Waterhouse, Michaela (BC Ministry of Forests and Range)
Imprint: [BC]:, 2007
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
This is an ongoing, long-term experimental trial to develop alternative silvicultural systems in northern caribou habitat. Under the Cariboo-Chilcotin Land Use Plan, northern caribou are considered a key management species and under the federal Species at Risk Act they are designated as threatened (within SMNEA). The goal of this project is to develop and test silvicultural systems that maintain caribou habitat, including terrestrial and arboreal forage lichens, while extracting timber, achieving regeneration and maintaining biodiversity. Research is required to continue on this project to provide a sound scientific basis for the ‘modified harvesting options’ under the Cariboo-Chilcotin Land Use Plan. Over 181,000 ha of caribou winter range will be available for ‘modified harvesting’. Deliverables are used to support and update the CCLUP Northern Caribou Strategy on an annual basis and support the recovery action plan (as required under SARA). 1. A ‘pilot study’ was initiated in 1994 in the MSxv NW of Puntzi Lake, BC. A 30 ha block, divided into 3 treatment units, was partially cut using variable retention silvicultural systems (group retention and group selection). An unlogged treatment was included in the design. It is valuable to continue maintaining this component as levels of retention and the opening sizes are different from the other trials. 2. Based on findings from the pilot study, a replicated research trial was designed and harvested in 1995/96. There are 5 blocks (60-80 ha each) that contain four treatments. Treatments included unlogged forest, group selection and two irregular group shelterwoods (whole tree and stem only harvesting) which vary by opening size (15m and 30m) and level of removal (30% and 50%). There are four clearcuts used for the planted stock trial. The trial is located NW of Puntzi Lake, BC in the in the Satah Mountain area. They contain ongoing studies on planted and natural regeneration, lichen, windthrow, long-term site productivity and biodiversity (birds, fungi). 3. The results from the pilot and replicated trials led to the development of the adaptive management trial (Chezacut and Satah areas). Group selection and irregular group shelterwood silvicultural systems, based on .15ha openings, were applied operationally to 2 – 600 ha blocks. Six clearcuts of similar age to the trial blocks were added to the lichen study. In both blocks monitoring plots were set up pre-harvest and have been followed for the last five years for planted stock, natural regeneration, lichen, windthrow and bird studies. They compliment and expand on studies in the earlier phases of the trial. Mountain pine beetle is spreading through all the trial blocks and it is essential that the trial be maintained and protected to follow the effects on lichen, vegetation, regeneration, birds etc. All three phases of the project are documented in: Waterhouse, M.J. 1998. Silvicultural systems to maintain northern caribou habitat in lodgepole pine forests in the MSxv and SBPSxc subzones in the Cariboo Forest Region. Working Plan EP1208. Ministry of Forests. Victoria, BC. The project is relevant to FSP theme areas: Sustainability PAC 4.0 Scientific information to inform policy, regulations, standards development 4.1 Species at Risk Research – in particular effects of management practices. Mountain Pine Beetle Research 1.0 Ecosystem structure, function and processes, and biodiversity related to forest management 1.4 Effectiveness of stand level structures and habitat in maintaining biodiversity We have collected pre-harvest and post –harvest (partial cutting) data on the abundance and diversity lichen, vegetation, and birds (1995-2005). The trial provides an excellent opportunity to document changes as the Mountain Pine Beetle kills a portion of or whole stands. Excessive mortality will have severe consequences for caribou and other species. The trial blocks are large enough to test management options (for example further salvage cutting). Remeasurement Description The research project is set up as a complete randomized block design. There are 5 experimental blocks (60 – 113 ha) split into four treatments. The treatments were randomly assigned in each block. The treatments are: no harvest, irregular group shelterwood – stem-only harvested (50% area removal), irregular group shelterwood – whole tree harvested (50% area removal) and group selection (30% area removal). The trial blocks were harvested in winter 1995/96. Growth and yield plots were installed in the trial in October, 1996. There was 1 plot installed per treatment unit for a total of 20 plots. The standard plot size is 16.93 m radius (0.09 ha) and on average each plot contains 50 to 150 sample trees. Data were collected according to Inventory Branch standards for permanent sample plots (PSP) using handheld data collectors. PSP plots are measured on a ten year interval so re-measurement is scheduled for 2006 and every 10 years into the future. Data will be re-collected using the same sampling protocols as used in 1996. The original data is in the GyHost program Version 7 (circa 1997).
Contact: Waterhouse, Michaela, (250) 398-4409,

Updated August 16, 2010 

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