The Date Creek silvicultural systems study was one of several research projects established throughout British Columbia in the early 1990s to examine alternatives to traditional clearcut harvesting. Large-scale clearcutting had been the silvicultural system of choice in the province (90% of the Crown land harvested between 1984-1994; British Columbia Ministry of Forests 1994). However, public demand and changing professional perspectives resulted in new forest policy that calls for a broader range of forest management options. British Columbia's new Forest Practices Code requires forest managers to consider a range of silvicultural systems to promote forest regeneration and maintain biodiversity.
To meet new silvicultural, ecological, and social management objectives, silvicultural systems must evolve beyond their traditional emphasis on timber production to include the broader objectives of protecting sensitive species, sustaining ecosystem function (diversity, productivity, nutrient cycling, and resilience), and identifying sustainable levels of use for a broad range of renewable resources. An understanding of forest dynamics and succession is critical to effectively manage forests for both conservation and timber production. The Date Creek silvicultural systems study comprises a multidisciplinary set of experiments that examines ecosystem processes and timber production in undisturbed, partially cut, and clearcut stands within the transitional coastal-interior forests of northwestern British Columbia.
This report provides background information on the Date Creek silvicultural systems study. This information is presented in three major sections. The first section gives an overview of the Date Creek study area; its climate, soils, vegetation; and the experimental design and treatments used in the research. The second section supplies detailed background information on the Date Creek research area (ecosystem mapping and soils) and the individual treatment units that comprise the Date Creek silvicultural systems study (ecosystems, soils, pre- and post-treatment stand structure). Finally, we briefly describe the various experiments that are under way and the names of the individual researchers involved.
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Updated April 27, 2007