Forest Science Program


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Best management practices for soil conservation in mountain pine beetle salvage operations

Author(s) or contact(s): S.M. Berch, S. Dube, and G.D. Hope
Source: Forest Science Program
Subject: Soil Conservation, Soils
Series: Extension Note
Other details:  Published 2009. Hardcopy is available.
 

Abstract

In December 2005, the Chief Forester released guidance on landscape- and stand-level structural retention in large-scale mountain pine beetle (MPB) salvage operations (Snetsinger 2005). Soil conservation was included in elements of that guidance, for instance:

- retain areas with live trees as a first priority in order to maximize the potential to move water from the soil through evapotranspiration
- maintain stand-level retention for the rotation [which addressed the fact that] these retention areas provide an important source of dead wood, standing and down structure, and intact forest floor, which assists with hydrologic stability and provides biodiversity and habitat value throughout the stand rotation-potentially "lifeboating" species until the newly regenerated stand matures sufficiently and provides higher levels of biological diversity.

However, this guidance did not directly address aspects of soil conservation within the cutblock, specifi-cally with respect to the altered soil conditions resulting from MPB attack and how these soil conditions affect seasonal windows of operability.

Accordingly, this document provides additional guidance on harvest planning and operations in MPB salvage to conserve soil productivity. We summarize the factors affecting soils and operability that differ between the harvest of living and dead stands and provide specific guidance on how to avoid or minimize detrimental soil disturbance when harvesting MPB-affected stands.

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Updated November 18, 2009