Forest Science Program

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Skid Road Recontouring in Southeastern British Columbia: 7-year Tree Growth Results

Author(s) or contact(s): P. Dykstra and M.P. Curran
Source: Forest Science Program
Subject: Roads - Design and Construction
Series: Technical Report
Other details:  Published 2002. Hardcopy is available.


The Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act (1995) created a legal requirement for soil conservation and, in particular, called for skid road rehabilitation to restore site productivity and slope hydrology. A research trial, initiated in the Nelson Forest Region in 1995, tested the efficacy of rehabilitation practices by quantifying tree growth on rehabilitated skid roads. This technical report presents the 7-year tree growth results of the study.

Sites were planted with lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), or Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii), or both. At eight locations in the Rocky and
Purcell mountains in south-eastern British Columbia, total height, annual height increment, and basal diameter were measured on 1713 trees, which ranged in age from 6 to 10 years.

Undisturbed trees and those on berm locations grew significantly (p<0.05) more than those on inner track and midroad locations at the current
block age for total height, 3-year increment, diameter, and volume for lodgepole pine. At a comparison block age of 7 years, 3-year increment was significantly greater for both undisturbed and berm-grown pine and spruce; additionally berm and undisturbed total height was greater for spruce. The growth of inner track pine trees was significantly reduced for all variables at the current block age. Reduced tree growth was most pronounced at sites with calcareous soils.

Continued poorer growth observed on the skid roads in this study supports the FPC requirement for more intensive rehabilitation methods to
restore site productivity. Until it is demonstrated that the construction and rehabilitation of skid roads is sufficient to support acceptable tree growth, net downs to Annual Allowable Cut calculations may be necessary to address reduced tree growth on temporary access structures.

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Updated May 18, 2007