Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project L087190

    Maintenance of mechanical site preparation studies in boreal and sub-boreal British Columbia
Project lead: Boateng, Jacob (BC Ministry of Forests and Range)
Author: Boateng, Jacob 0.
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
Mechanical site preparation (MSP) is a widely-used tool to facilitate conifer seedling establishment in north-central British Columbia. It was especially important during the 1980ís when large efforts were made to rehabilitate backlog areas. During that era, a broad-based project was established under FRDA (Project 1.10) to study the biological effectiveness of various forms of MSP, including mounding, scalping, and trenching treatments applied using a variety of equipment. Broadcast burning and chemical site preparation were also studied on some sites. Effects on white spruce (Picea glauca) and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) performance, soil characteristics, and seedling microenvironment were examined. Individual studies were established in the SBS, BWBS, and ESSF zones of the (now) Northern Interior Forest Region. The original FRDA 1.10 project included more than 10 sites, and we are now in the process of collecting 15-20 year conifer data from several locations. We have also proposed the collection of 20 year data regarding the long-term effects of MSP and burning treatments on soil physical and chemical properties, and on lodgepole pine foliar nutrient status (FSP proposal Y08 1192). The collection of long-term data from these sites is important if we are to determine whether early trends in conifer growth continue through time, and to allow us to make more accurate predictions regarding the effects of site preparation treatments on eventual growth and yield. As an example, early results from the Wonowon site suggested that spruce growth was better on large than small mounds. By year 20, growth had improved similarly in comparison to the control on all mound sizes (Boateng et al. 2006). This is an important result to communicate to operational practitioners because small mounds are considerably less costly to install than large mounds. This project has also historically made valuable contributions to the development of operational guidelines regarding site preparation, and has provided opportunities for research on a diverse range of topics including conifer response to site preparation (Bedford et al. 2000, Boateng et al. 2006), the effects of chemical and mechanical treatments on plant communities and species diversity (Boateng et al. 2000; Haeussler et al. 2002), root development following mounding treatments (Heineman et al. 1999), and the effects of treatments on soil properties (Macadam and Kabzems 2006). Ongoing study at these sites can be continue only if we maintain the physical infrastructure for the project. In recent years, we have become increasingly aware that maintenance is required if the individual sites included in the original FRDA 1.10 project are to remain viable. Target trees and plot boundaries are becoming difficult to locate and, as a result, measurement activities are taking longer than necessary. The maintenance work proposed herein will ensure our ability to conduct future measurements at these sites, and to do so in an efficient, cost-effective manner. This is a well-known project within the operational community in north-central BC, and also within local and international research communities. This broad recognition increases the likelihood that the experiments will be well-used on an ongoing basis, for example as demonstration areas, and that the maintenance funding we request will provide an excellent return. Two of these sites (Inga and Bednesti) are regularly used as tour sites by foresters and other organizations. Over the next three years, we are proposing to carry out maintenance activities on seven of the research sites that were part of the original FRDA 1.10 project. Activities will include locating and marking corner posts, and re-tagging, flagging and painting target conifers. None of these maintenance activities are being funded from other sources, or are included in the linked New Research proposal (Y08 1192).
Citations for entire proposal: Bedford, L., Sutton, R.F., Stordeur, L., and Grismer, M. 2000. Establishing white spruce in the Boreal White and Black Spruce Zone. New Forests 20: 213-233. Boateng, J. O., Haeussler, S., Bedford, L. 2000. Boreal plant community diversity 10 years after Glyphosate treatment. Western Journal of Applied Forestry Vol 15(1):15-26 Boateng, J.O., Heineman, J.L. McClarnon, J., and Bedford, L. [2007]. Twenty-year responses of white spruce to mechanical site preparation and vegetation management in the boreal region of northeastern British Columbia. Can. J. For. Res. (in press) Haeussler, S., Bedford, L., Leduc, L., Bergeron, Y., Kranabetter, J.M. 2002. Silvicultural disturbance severity and plant communities of the southern Canadian boreal forest. Silva Fennica 36(1): 307-327. Hawkins, C.B.D., Steele, T.W., and Letchford, T. 2006. The economics of site preparation and the impacts of current forest policy: evidence from central British Columbia. Can. J. For. Res. 36: 482-494. Heineman, J.L., Bedford, L., Sword, D. 1999. Root system development of 12- year-old white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) on a mounded subhygric-mesic site in northern interior British Columbia. Forest Ecology and Management 123: (167-177). Macadam, A., Kabzems, R. 2006. Vegetation management improves early growth of white spruce more than mechanical site preparation treatments. North. J. Appl. For. 23(1): 35-46.
Contact: Boateng, Jacob, (250) 387-8905,


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Updated August 16, 2010 

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