Forest Investment Account

Abstract of FII Project R04-074

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Investigation of windthrow as a natural disturbance agent in coastal BC forests

Author(s): Mitchell, Stephen J. (University of British Columbia)
Subject: Climate, Earth Sciences, Forestry, Geology, Geomorphology, Landscape ecology, Technology/GIS/Modeling/Remote Sensing
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program


In contrast with boreal and other continental forest ecosystems where fire is the major natural disturbance agent, knowledge of natural disturbances is poorly developed in the wet cool forests of coastal British Columbia where wind is the predominant disturbance agent. In this study we will use information from vegetation inventory and ecosystem databases, aerial photographs, field surveying and wind flow modeling to explore the relationships between wind regime, topographic location, soil conditions and stand structure and composition. We will compile these data in a geographic information system and construct predictive models for risk of whole or partial disturbance by wind in natural stands, and we will produce maps showing the distribution of this risk across the landscape. The improved knowledge of the processes underlying stand and landscape conditions will assist natural resource managers in the development of ecologically-based management plans for coastal stands and landscapes.

For further information, please contact Stephen J. Mitchell, University of British Columbia (

Updated September 08, 2005 

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