Forest Investment Account

Abstract of FIA Project 6080009

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Aquatic-breeding amphibian monitoring program analysis of small wetland habitats on Vancouver Island: annual progress report 2002

Author(s): Wind, Elke
Imprint: Nanaimo, B.C. : E. Wind Consulting, 2003
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), Amphibians, British Columbia, Forest management
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In 2002, wetlands were surveyed in Weyerhaeuser’s North and South Island Divisions as part of their Adaptive Management Monitoring Program. The main objectives for the surveys were to 1) determine how well current mapping techniques used by the company can locate and identify small wetlands (< 1 ha), and 2) to locate potential amphibian monitoring sites. Using 1:5000 base maps and GIS, 6,407 wetlands covering 663 ha were found in the South Island Division, and 2,160 over 314 ha were found in the North. Ground truthing was used to test how many wetlands were missed during mapping. Close to 240 wetlands were surveyed over 55 km of ground-truthing, of which approximately 72% (n = 171) were unmapped. As might be expected, the size of the wetland, as well as hydroperiod, may affect the mappability of small wetlands (i.e., unmapped wetlands tended to be smaller and drier than those that were mapped). A re-evaluation of digital imagery of a sub-sample of 76 unmapped wetlands found that 16% may be detectable through re-evaluation, and/or they were inaccurately mapped originally. The analyses also suggest that small wetlands may be encompassed in habitat features currently recognized and/or mapped for forestry purposes, but not associated with wetlands per se. For example, small wetlands may be found/associated with canopy openings, indefinite drainages, and scrub habitat. Approximately 41% (n = 97) of the wetlands had amphibians detected, and 42% of those that contained water (n = 70) had an aquatic amphibian life stage (i.e., eggs, larvae and/or neotones). Five amphibian species were identified during wetland surveys in the South Island: North-western salamanders, Long-toed salamanders, Rough-skinned newts, Pacific treefrogs, and Red-legged frogs. All species, except the Long-toed salamander, were also detected in the North, although North-western salamanders were the most common species detected there (65% of sites). There are a number of forested wetlands that may serve as potential active experimental monitoring sites, but this needs further investigation.

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Updated August 02, 2006 

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