Forest Investment Account

Abstract of TERP Project #5-7

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Ecosystem Restoration of Historically Open Douglas-fir Stands in the IDFxm: Year 1 Progress Report

Author(s): Steen, Ordell A.
Imprint: Williams Lake, B.C. : B.C. Ministry of Forests, Cariboo Forest Region, 2002
Subject: Restoration Ecology, British Columbia, Forest Investment Account (FIA)
Series: Terrestrial Ecosystem Restoration Program Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program


Prior to 1900, the forest stands adjacent to grasslands in the Cariboo-Chilcotin were maintained in a predominantly open condition by frequent fires. These stands contained vigorous grass and shrub vegetation as well as vigorously growing Douglas-fir trees. Following the cessation of frequent fire, forage and biodiversity values have been greatly reduced due to the extensive, dense, closed forest stands that have developed on these same sites. Current timber harvesting practices in these stands too often maintain high densities of small stems, inconsistent with the natural range of variability. This project involved modifying harvesting practices to restore open forest stands. The principal goal was to restore two densely in-grown Douglas-fir ecosystems adjacent to grasslands to a more open condition through modified timber harvesting practices, juvenile spacing, and under-burning. This project is also a demonstration site and provided evaluations of modified operational practices. The two stands were operationally harvested by Riverside Forest Products to preferentially remove smaller diameter classes. Many non-merchantable stems were also intentionally cut or damaged. Post-harvest slashing was combined with a juvenile slashing contract to further remove small stems to target densities. Retained stems were those with the greatest probability of responding to the treatment (>30% live crown), and those that were likely to become good crop trees. Following thinning, an underburn of the thinning slash was conducted in cooperation with the Cariboo Fire Centre on a portion of the area. This underburn was the first stage of a two-stage burn and was conducted primarily to remove fine fuels and reduce fire hazard. A future burn will need to be done to remove larger fuels. On unburned areas, the thinning slash was left on-site. As this project was designed as a trial, data collection and layout were done in a manner that will allow the results of this treatment to be compared to untreated patches, and patches treated with harvesting but no juvenile thinning. Follow-up treatments will need to be scheduled as part of a long-term management plan that includes timing of harvest re-entries and treatment of tree regeneration ingress. The project report is available from the Ministry library: Steen, O. 2002. Ecosystem Restoration of Historically Open Douglas-fir Stands in the IDFxm - TERP Project 5-7 Year 1 Progress Report. Submitted to the Terrestrial Ecosystem Restoration Program by the Ministry of Forests, Williams Lake, BC.
Project Name: Ecosystem Restoration of Historically Open Douglas-fir Stands in the IDFxm
Project Proponent: Cariboo-Chilcotin Grassland Strategy Working Group (Ministry of Forests)
Keywords: open forest restoration, timber harvest, prescribed fire, demonstration site

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Updated July 25, 2006 

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