Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program
FIA Project 2799004

    Biodiversity sustainability analysis for high priority species requiring dead and dying wood in the Fort St. John TSA
Project lead: Regimbald, Darrell (Canfor)
Contributing Authors: Bunnell, Fred L.; Kremsater, Laurie L.; Moy, Arnold; Vernier, Pierre R.
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program
There are three objectives:
1) summarize the Species Accounting System for native forest-dwelling vertebrates for the Fort St John TSA assigning species to groups statistically where data permit,
2) describe the process for coarse filter analysis of the effects of forest practices on species using dying and dead wood, and
3) present the coarse filter analysis and findings for dead wood and vertebrate species.
The Species Accounting System assigns all vertebrate species within the TSA to the least costly form of monitoring appropriate to the species’ natural history. Groups treated are:
Group 1 – generalists, species that inhabit many habitat types or respond positively to forest practices;
Group 2 – species that can be statistically assigned broad habitat types as defined within VRI, (e.g. young hardwoods, older conifer stands);
Group 3 – species with strong dependencies on specific elements (e.g. snags or understory), so may be useful in effectiveness monitoring;
3c – use cavities or deeply furrowed bark for >50% of nest, roost or den sites
3dw – dependent on down wood
3u – dependent on understory
3w,r – dependent on wetlands and small lakes (<5 ha) or riverine riparian and large lakes (>5ha)
Group 4 – species restricted to specialized and highly localized habitats; and
Group 5 – species for which patch size and connectivity are considered important.
Group 6 is included for completeness. It contains species known or expected to occur in the area, but that are not dependent upon forested environments and are not monitored. Results are presented in Appendix 1 and summarized in Tables 1 through 9. Non-vertebrates are treated to the extent that data permit (e.g., Table 11).
Coarse filter analysis of the effects of forest practices on species using dying and dead wood employs map-based data and literature to assess potentially deleterious practices. Practices that can have a deleterious effect on amounts and kinds of deadwood within the DFA are those that: 1) fail to provide sufficient dead wood of adequate size; 2) reduce the amount of older forest age classes over large areas (each forest type is significant to some species; Table 10); products of age, such as larger diameters and advanced decay, also are requirements for some species;
3) convert significant amounts of hardwood or mixed wood types to conifer-leading types (decayed and dead hardwoods are preferred by species in several groups of organisms);4) fail to provide the full range of decay classes on a sustained basis in both conifer and hardwood types (different organisms seek different decay classes; even-aged management with close utilization standards can produce gaps in the sustained provision of all decay classes); and 5) fail to distribute dead wood in ways that meet organisms’ requirements. Each of these potential effects are evaluated in §4.1 through §4.5 and key measures, cumulative effects and apparent trends are summarized in §4.6.
Major findings are:
• The coarse-filter approaches of the SFM plan for the Fort St John TSA appear well reasoned and well integrated, and will act to supply dead wood with favourable attributes into the future. In some instances current targets appear low (e.g., diameters for retained trees), but are readily correctible. Some ‘thresholds’ necessary to guide coarse-filter evaluation were derived from local ii data and relevant literature (Table 12). In a few instances these differ from current guidelines within the SFM plan. Those findings suggest changes to guidelines and to practice.
• Most negative trends of Table 16 are easily ameliorated (e.g., by altering retention guidelines). Others are of less immediate concern, so are candidates for monitoring. For example, analyses suggest no current shortfall in amounts of older conifer or hardwood, but reveal potential reduction in older mixed wood forest. The longer term trends in all forest types should be monitored.
• Targets should be evaluated through effectiveness monitoring. Priorities for monitoring are suggested in §5.3. The current trend to more wildfires in boreal forests suggests that targets based on historical natural disturbance regimes are no longer ‘natural’ and possibly unattainable.
• Data from elsewhere for lichens, bryophytes and insects suggest that dispersed retention of down wood is more favourable than retention in piles.
Based on these findings recommendations for improving practice and directing implementation monitoring and effectiveness monitoring are offered in §5.2 and §5.3.


Biodiversity sustainability analysis (0.3Mb)
Report March 2009 (0.4Mb)

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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