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Microclimate studies in mountain pine beetle-damaged silvicultural systems on the Chilcotin Plateau: the Itcha-Ilgachuz project (1997-2013)

Author(s) or contact(s): R.M. Sagar and M.J. Waterhouse
Source: Forests, Lands, and NR Operations
Subject: Microclimate, Mountain Pine Beetle, Silvicultural Systems
Series: Technical Report
Other details:  Published 2015. Hardcopy is available.


A long-term study on group selection and irregular group shelterwood silvicultural systems began in 1994 to determine their effectiveness in managing habitat for woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou). The systems are being applied in the very dry, cold Sub-Boreal Pine Spruce (SBPSxc) and the very dry, very cold Montane Spruce (MSxv) biogeoclimatic subzones located on the high-elevation Chilcotin Plateau in west-central British Columbia.

Microclimate was monitored in paired partial cut and clearcut treatments in three study blocks over a range of elevations. In these harsh growing environments, partial cutting strongly influenced the air and soil temperature, frost events, and snow-free date. As the microclimate variables changed over the 16-year study period, so did vegetation layers in the partial cuts and clearcuts. In addition, an outbreak of the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) killed 61% of the mature trees in the partial cut treatments during the middle part of this study (2003-2008) and this mortality and subsequent degeneration of the trees could be affecting the microclimate.

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Updated July 31, 2015