Forest Science Program

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Silviculture treatments for ecosystem management in the Sayward (STEMS): establishment report for STEMS 2, Elk Bay

Author(s) or contact(s): L.E. de Montigny and G.D. Nigh
Source: Forest Science Program
Subject: Silvicultural Systems
Series: Technical Report
Other details:  Published 2009. Hardcopy is available.


Silviculture Treatments for Ecosystem Management in the Sayward (STEMS) is a large-scale, multi-disciplinary experiment that compares forest productivity, economics, and public perception of seven silvicultural regimes replicated at three sites in the Sayward Forest.

The STEMS experiment uses silvicultural systems and treatments to create diversity in forest structure that results in a variety of canopy layers (vertical structure) and spatial patchiness (horizontal structure) to enhance biodiversity and wildlife. The STEMS experiment examines seven different treatment regimes:
1. Extended Rotation with Commercial Thinning
2. Clearcut with Reserves
3. Extended Rotation (non-treatment control)
4. Uniform Dispersed Retention
5. Group Selection
6. Modified Patch Cuts
7. Aggregate Retention

These silvicultural regimes create a range of gap sizes and frequencies that emulate natural variation in forest structure.

This Technical Report describes the establishment of the second replication of STEMS starting in 2003 near Elk Bay in the Sayward Forest. Treatment units were harvested in 2005. STEMS 2 stand conditions differ from STEMS 1 with higher densities and proportions of western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) and moister biogeoclimatic site series. Ongoing studies include:
- Tree growth and stand development, including understorey vegetation
- Regeneration and light availability
- Windthrow, mortality, and coarse woody debris recruitment
- Harvesting production and impacts of residual tree damage and soil disturbance (in partnership with the Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada [FERIC])
- Visual quality and public response

The results of this experiment will be used to determine how silviculture treatments can be used to create healthy, resilient forests that continue to provide the range of timber and non-timber forest products and ecosystem services demanded by society.

Download Technical Report 049 PDF file (6063 KB)

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Updated April 08, 2009