Southern Interior Forest Region

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Silvicultural systems on a deep snowpack, mule deer winter range in the central interior of British Columbia: 10-year update

Author(s) or contact(s): M.J. Waterhouse
Source: Southern Interior Forest Region
Subject: Silvicultural Systems
Series: Extension Note
Other details:  Published 2009. Hardcopy is available.


In the Horsefly variant of the moist, cool Interior Cedar-Hemlock (ICHmk3) biogeoclimatic subzone, within the central interior of British Columbia, Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) tends to occur in even-aged stands. Douglas-fir forests are important from both the forest industry and wildlife habitat management
perspectives. In this ecosystem, Douglas-fir can be clearcut and regenerated through planting mixes of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), interior spruce (Picea glauca x engelmannii), and Douglas-fir, but this practice seriously compromises habitat value as mule deer winter range. Deer require mature and older Douglas-fir stands as winter range to reduce the snowpack and provide forage (Waterhouse et al. 1994), especially foliage from larger trees (Dawson et al. 1990). This project was initiated in 1996 to test silvicultural systems options for the management of mule deer winter range in the transition to deep snowpack zones. This represents about one-quarter of the identified winter range within the Cariboo-Chilcotin land use planning area (Dawson et al. 2006).

This Extension Note summarizes the response of vegetation and Douglas-fir regeneration to a range of opening sizes (0.25 - 2.0 ha), opening orientations (along and across contours), and site preparation treatments (disc trenching or not), up to 10 years post-harvest. Results from the pre-harvest and 5-year data collections were fully documented (Waterhouse and Eastham 2005); year-10 data (2007) were collected and analyzed using the same methods. The snow distribution, deer use, and tree fall studies were completed between 1998 and 2003.

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Updated March 17, 2009