Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project M085266

    Developing Retention Strategies to Maintain Landscape-Level Wildlife Habitat and Bioiversity During the Salvage Harvesting of Mountain Pine Beetle Attack Areas in the Southern Interior Forest Region
Project lead: Klenner, Walt (BC Ministry of Forests and Range)
Contributing Authors: Klenner, Walt; Lewis, Douglas W.
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
The project involves work to develop a synthesis of the published literature on the multi-stand (landscape) effects of salvage harvesting in mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) affected areas, to identify key principles that affect wildlife habitat and biodiversity at the landscape level, to articulate these in the design of multi-stand salvage harvest retention strategies, and to suggest and illustrate possible approaches to retaining landscape-level wildlife habitat and biodiversity that relate to existing landscape condition. The key purpose of the work is to develop a synthesis on the likely landscape level effects of salvage harvesting in mountain pine beetle affected areas on wildlife habitat, and to identify options that will help to mitigate these effects in a cost effective manner. The proposed project represents a second phase of work initiated in 2005/06 on developing a synthesis of information regarding the stand-level impacts of salvage harvesting on wildlife habitat in mountain pine beetle affected areas. The earlier work began in 2005 and led to the completion of a Southern Interior Forest Region extension note in May 2006 (“Retention Strategies to Maintain Habitat Structure and Wildlife Diversity During the Salvage Harvesting of Mountain Pine Beetle Attack Areas in the Southern Interior Forest Region (Klenner 2006, see This extension note was a first step in the stand-level retention extension project, and serves to focus discussion and application of the concepts addressed in the document to operational salvage practices in mountain pine beetle affected areas. Application of the concepts outlined in the stand-level extension note is ongoing via relatively informal field-based workshops with operational field staff from SIFR district offices and licensees, discussions with the Southern Interior Implementation Team, and presentations at formal workshops such as SISCO. We propose to develop a complementary landscape-level salvage retention extension product that would: (1) outline key principles relating to maintaining wildlife habitat and biodiversity at the landscape level, (2) articulate these principles and relate them to the design of operational landscape salvage harvest retention strategies, (3) to suggest and illustrate possible approaches to retaining landscape-level wildlife habitat in the context of pre- and likely post-salvage habitat pattern and the nature of stand-level retention in individual salvage harvest blocks that make up the landscape, and (4) use a landscape-level habitat supply model (TELSA, see Klenner et al. 1997, 2000, Kurz et al. 2000, ESSA 2005) to illustrate the likely outcomes of different management scenarios. We will use an extensive literature review of landscape-level wildlife habitat issues and dialogue with operational staff and planners to develop an extension document similar to Southern Interior Forest Region Extension Note EN04. The review will focus on specific landscape-level features that are important to wildlife and biodiversity, and develop a synthesis relating to retention planning to maintain wildlife habitat in landscapes where extensive salvage harvesting is projected to occur (e.g. more than 30% of the lodgepole pine leading forest types are salvage logged). A preliminary list of factors to review includes: (1) the amount of mature and late seral, (2) patch size and shape of mature and late seral retention areas, (3) the dispersion of key habitats, (4) landscape-level connectivity, (5) representation of ecosystem types in old and mature retention areas at the predictive ecosystem mapping level, (6) the effects of roads and access, (7) maintaining heterogeneity of treatments, and (8) the role of within-stand structural conditions. A key backdrop to the synthesis will be the recognition that the mountain pine beetle has affected a major change to the pattern and process of the ecosystem, and that extensive salvage operations likely exacerbate impacts to wildlife habitat. We propose to identify planning and retention strategies that will help to “make the best of a bad situation”. Virtually all of the recent land use planning initiatives (e.g. establishment of riparian reserves, old-growth management areas, habitat management for species of concern such as marten, etc.) were prepared under the assumption of a multi-pass, dispersed block green tree harvest and no extensive loss of mature or old forest habitat to wildfire or insect attack. In many areas dominated by lodgepole pine in the Southern Interior, this situation has changed and extensive areas are now dominated by red and green attack. Our work will focus on identifying key landscape-level wildlife habitat issues, identifying opportunities for retaining these features in example landscapes, and outlining options to consider to diminish the negative impacts of salvage harvesting. Examples of such options include the strategic placement of non-salvage stands to facilitate connectivity, moving OGMA’s so that they provide mature or old forest conditions closer to extensive salvage areas, or creating wider riparian reserves to compensate for the OGMA’s that were heavily attacked by pine beetle. A key component in the development of EN04 was an extensive preliminary review process that involved wildlife habitat specialists and operational foresters that provided input on issues relating to wildlife habitat, as well operational feasibility. We will use a similar approach, complemented by more extensive First Nations consultation, in the development of options and opportunities for maintaining landscape-level wildlife habitat and biodiversity prior to review and comment by the SIFR Implementation team, and subsequent preparation of an extension note. Following development of the extension note, we will continue with more applied extension activities including the review or evaluation of retention plans, field workshops, and presentations and discussions at workshops such as SISCO.


Final Report (41Kb)
JEM article, Volume 8(3), 118-124.

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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