Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program
FIA Project 2654015

    Indicator Targets and Management Recommendations for Retention of Coarse Woody Debris in the Mackenzie Defined Forest Area
Project lead: Canadian Forest Products Ltd.
Contributing Authors: Voller, Joan; McNay, R. Scott
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program
Ecologists regard coarse woody debris (CWD) important to ecological function because many wildlife species depend on this structural element for substrate, forage, nesting, or shelter. In addition, the soil and litter food web is one of the most biologically diverse components of any terrestrial ecosystem and sustainability of forest ecosystems depends on the interaction of soil fungi, microbes, and invertebrates because of their roles in nutrient cycling and decomposition. Even though the ecological value of CWD has been recognized by managers, the forest utilization standards set by Government and forest-sector economics often conflict with the ecological need to retain CWD. Due to these conflicting objectives, the development of CWD retention standards that are sufficient to meet the requirements of sustainable forest management has not occurred.
The sustainable forest management (SFM) requirements for retention of CWD in the Mackenzie Defined Forest Area (DFA) are the default values from the Forest Planning and Practices Regulation. However, the Public Advisory Group that helps guide development of the Mackenzie SFM Plan considered these requirements to lack sensitivity to the variation in ecosystems and felt they were ecologically ineffective. In this paper we review the function of CWD in the ecosystem, its importance to wildlife, and the forestry practices that are designed to maintain CWD. We also review, compare, and contrast the baseline targets that have been set by legislation and those established as components of other SFM plans in British Columbia. As well, we have researched and summarized available data on levels of CWD obtained from sampling natural forest ecosystems. On the basis of this research, we recommend targets to guide forest licensees on the amount of CWD to be retained by ecological management unit (i.e., Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification BEC; zone, subzone, variant) within the Mackenzie DFA.


CWD Discussion Paper (0.8Mb)

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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