The Mount Tom adaptive management trial was initiated in 1999 on 4067 hectares in mountain caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) winter habitat in east-central British Columbia. It builds on and expands knowledge gained from the Quesnel Highland Alternative Silvicultural Systems trial, set up further to the south in 1990, to explore options to maintain caribou habitat while allowing for some forest harvesting. The principal objective of the Mount Tom adaptive management trial is to examine the effects of applying group selection silvicultural systems and more specific treatments (e.g., opening size and site preparation), in a range of ecological and geographical contexts, at the operational level. The following topics are part of the trial: arboreal lichen abundance and species composition, stand development, stand stability, regeneration, understorey vegetation, snow accumulation and melt, microclimate, and operational harvesting. The size of the eight cutblocks (> 100 ha each) enables the forest company overseeing the project to realize economies of scale regarding layout, harvesting, and transportation, plus providing an opportunity to test different types of equipment. When the Mount Tom trial is fully developed, the treated and no-harvest control areas will be extensive enough to directly measure caribou use. The trial also provides an opportunity for other researchers to work on the site and for extension activities. The purpose of this establishment report is to document information about the study area, layout, and methods associated with the individual studies embedded in this long-term, complex trial.
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Updated March 30, 2011