Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project S094203

    Forest management to minimize impacts of forestry operations on streamwater quality synthesis of the literature
Project lead: Feller, M.C. (University of British Columbia)
Author: Feller, Michael C.
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
As described in the originally approved project, management of forests in such a way as to maintain streamwater quality is fraught with uncertainty from a stream ecosystem perspective. Although guidelines exist for buffer strip widths, road construction, and other forestry practices, different jurisdictions have different guidelines (e.g. Blinn and Kilgore 2001), and guidelines are often drafted with one stream ecosystem attribute in mind. In B.C., watershed assessment procedures and riparian management guidelines have focussed on stream sediment. However, as climate changes and as the extent of harvesting in gentle terrain mountain pine beetle affected forests increases, other streamwater quality parameters, such as temperature or chemistry, can become important. If stream ecosystems are to remain functioning well, it is important to have management guidelines which consider all streamwater quality parameters. Optimum buffer strip widths, for example, vary depending on the stream parameter considered (e.g. Castelle et al. 1994). Recent reviews and syntheses of different aspects of forest management impacts on aquatic ecosystems have been primarily for one forest management activity (e.g. timber harvesting) or one streamwater quality characteristic (e.g. sediment), and often for one size of watershed (e.g. small). The proposed project is including a synthesis of these reviews and syntheses, and thus is relevant to a broader range of forest management activities, streamwater quality characteristics, and watershed sizes, than most existing literature. Based on the review, guidelines will be presented aimed at minimizing any adverse effects of different forest management activities (forest harvesting, forest fertilization, road construction, herbicide application, and prescribed burning) on streamwater physical and chemical quality. The synthesis of the relevant published literature, both peer-reviewed and otherwise, will be completed during the 2007/08 fiscal year. This synthesis, with its scientific conclusions, would be subjected to international scientific peer review and revision if necessary, prior to producing the final synthesis. The final synthesis would then be used to develop forest management guidelines, which would also be subjected to review both by scientists and forest managers, prior to producing the final management guidelines which will be presented to forest managers in B.C. via the internet, publications and presentations. This project, focussing on stream physical and chemical quality, compliments FSP project S084013 which is another literature synthesis, but focussing on fish and fish habitat in streams. The present project utilizes the results of other studies conducted by the proponent on the effects of different types of forest harvesting on streamwater quality, one of which is funded by FSP (part of project Y081097)
Blinn, CR, and MA Kilgore. 2001. J. Forestry 99(8):11-17;
Castelle, AJ et al. 1994. J. Environ. Qual. 23:878-882
Contact: Feller, Michael, (604) 822-3729,


Executive summary (21Kb)

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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