Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project Y103210

    Effects of variable retention on planted and natural regeneration in Coastal BC: data measurement and analysis.
Project lead: Western Forest Products Inc
Author: Smith, Nick J.
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
No major changes have been made. In 2009-2010 we plan to measure 3 edge sites in the fall 2009: 5409 (Port McNeill 9 year post planting as we missed 8 year measurements here), ST42 (Powell River, 10 year post planting), and Stove Creek (Mid Isle Campbell River, 10 year post planting). We will completely measure Malahat 4902 (South Island, 5 years post planting) and NL45 (South Island, 9 year post planting (we missed the 8 year measurement) experimental sites). We will undertake maintenance in the spring 2009 at the following edge sites: 3015 (South Island, vexar (plastic seedling protectors) and deciduous brush maintenance); Melrose 12 (South Island, vexar and deciduous brush). We will undertake maintenance at the following experimental sites in the spring 2009: MH4902 (South Island, vexar maintenance) and OP0185 (replace all vexar seedling protectors with new vexar as Elk useage is very high in the area and original vexar has disintegrated). In addition we plan to update analyses with the new measurements: we are examining the impacts of edges on planted and natural regeneration. Work will continue with the linkage of the variable retention regeneration model being embedded in the FORGE model (see below) via model updates and testing.

Increased retention of trees in openings leads to increased edges compared to clearcuts. This study is designed to examine the effects of retained forest edge on the growth of regenerating trees in Coastal BC using two permanent plot data sets. This project specifically extends the similar project Y082001 in two areas: to a larger data set and includes significant data analysis.

Experimental design: 1) Seven large scale (~100 ha) and four smaller scale (~10ha-40ha) experimental sites (all treatments randomly allocated) have been established across Western Forest Products current or former landbase (Beese et al. (2005)). 2) Nineteen edge sites have been established across the former Weyerhaeuser BC Coastal Group’s landbase. (See attachments for descriptions).

The experimental sites were established on homogenous areas, have clearcut and uncut controls and up to 3 treatments comprised of different types and levels of variable retention (Beese et al. 2005). Categories are group retention, group size, dispersed retention, group removal and mixed retention. There are generally 3 treatments per site from low to higher levels of retention, and an uncut and a clearcut area, all randomly allocated. Within these experimental areas permanent long-term ‘sector plots’ (Iles and Smith 2006, Smith et al. 2008) have been established to examine the effects of forest edge on growth. In dispersed experiments, clearcuts and uncut areas 0.1ha ‘sector’ plots with a central angle of 36 degrees are established randomly. For group retention or group removal treatments four 9 degree sectors tied to a central 'pivot-point' are established with random angles in a minimum of 3 patches per treatment. At each experiment plots generally cover about 2ha. Each site permanently monitors 3000- 5000 planted trees, 2000+ tagged natural regeneration trees and 500-2500 retained trees measured on a 1,2,3,5,8 and 10 year cycle. Edge sites were generally set up before the experimental sites: their purpose was to explicitly examine trends in responses in planted trees and natural regeneration to forest edge environmental gradients. Plots were established in N, S, E and W directions. At least 3, and up to 6 rows of trees were planted from -5m to +50m across forest edges and measured on a 1,2,3,5,8 and 10 year cycle. (In some years it is not possible to measure planted and natural regeneration in the same year due to funding constraints or weather limitations at higher elevations. In this case the missed category will be measured in the following year). Two sites examined different species in the same transect (5521 and 5409 both at Port McNeill). There were 4 species planted in each transect in random rows (Sitka spruce, amabilis-fir, western red cedar and western hemlock). Three sites (Melrose 12, RatDog and 3015) included fertilizing at treatment comparisons: 3 rows were unfertilized and 3 were fertilized. Both the edge and experimental sets of data are long-term (30 years+).
Note that requested funds will only cover a portion of the actual cost for these sites; in-kind funding will make up the short-fall. We also request assistance with funding a full data analysis of information collected up to and including 2008-2009 from all the experimental and edge sites. This will include an analysis of planted and natural regeneration and retained tree growth responses across variable retention edges, linked to light, temperature and moisture gradients, which have also been collected from the sites. Data and analysis will help fuel the development of a regeneration phase of a spatially explicit microclimate-growth model called FORGE (Forest Growth Engine) previously developed. See the following link for a description of FORGE:
The analysis examines natural and planted seedling and retained tree response: some sites are up to 10 years since planting. Results to date show that seedling and natural regeneration growth peaks at a distance from edges, patches or individual trees. Data from natural regeneration are used to drive a natural seed-in and advanced regeneration model. This model is coupled with a planted tree survival and growth model as part of FORGE. FORGE is a spatially explicit model. We propose to continue to examine patterns of seed-in, mortality and growth with azimuthal orientation around retained patches. Regeneration survival and growth is currently linked to the light and moisture environment and distance from retained edges in the model. In the first two years we have developed preliminary models for prediction. In the second year we focused on an explicit model that grows the young trees as a function of light and moisture and embedded the model in a non-spatial version of FORGE that allowed growth to be modified by moisture and light based on empirical adjustments. We will finish off a paper concerning the growth modelling in the third year. There have been considerable changes in ownership recently so the funds will help us keep core assets intact. These sites cover over 1000 ha, with permanently tagged 30,000 planted seedlings and a similar number of retained and natural regeneration trees. Measurements will help maintain the sites and continue to make them useful for future science research. The size and scope of the experimental areas appears to be unique in BC. Forest management issues addressed: effects of variable retention on the survival and growth of the next crop across a wide range of sites and conditions for a variety of species. An analysis and modelling framework that integrates numerous components including retained trees, natural regeneration and planed trees. This has implications for timber supply and silvicultural prescriptions. A model is being developed that allows silvicultural and timber supply projections. This projects attempts to extend and generalize a large and valuable experimental and investigative set of BC Coastal field studies to analysis and model building.
Literature. Beese, W.J., B.G. Dunsworth, and N.J. Smith. 2005. Variable retention adaptive management experiments: testing new approaches for managing British Columbia’s coastal forests. Paper In: IUFRO: Balancing Ecosystem Values: innovative experiments for sustainable forestry, Portland, Oregon, August 2004. Iles, K. and N.J. Smith. 2006. A new type of plot that is particularly useful for sampling small clusters of objects. For. Sci., 52 (2):148-157.Smith, N.J., K. Iles and K. Raynor 2008. Investigation of some sector sampling statistical properties. For. Sci 54(1):67-76.
Related projects:  FSP_Y081210FSP_Y092210


Final technical report (0.7Mb)

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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