Research Branch

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Forest Soil Rehabilitation in British Columbia: A Problem Analysis

Author(s) or contact(s): C.E. Bulmer
Source: Research Branch
Subject: Soil Conservation
Series: Land Management Handbook
Other details:  Published 1998. Hardcopy is available.


This report summarizes issues and problems in forest soil rehabilitation in British Columbia. It presents an up-to-date review of the scientific literature and the activities of rehabilitation specialists and practitioners working for the forest industry and government. It is aimed at people who carry out rehabilitation projects, and those faced with developing and evaluating cost-effective new techniques for soil rehabilitation.

The focus of this report is on techniques for restoring soil productivity, with the implied objective of re-establishing a productive forest ecosystem on a site that has suffered degradation. The causes of forest soil degradation and avoidance techniques are not addressed in detail, as these are dealt with else-where (e.g., Lousier 1990; Lewis 1991; and various Forest Practices Code guidebooks). Also, techniques for stabilizing slopes, preventing erosion, and for manipulating and restoring drainage patterns (i.e., techniques for road deactivation) are not specifically discussed, as these practices are also described elsewhere (e.g., Carr 1980; Chatwin et al. 1994; Moore 1994).

Various terms, such as "restoration," "reclamation," and "rehabilitation," have been used to describe a range of mitigation activities to counter the effects of environmental degradation. In this report, the term "soil rehabilitation" refers to activities that aim to improve soil productivity to a state where a productive forest can develop on sites that have suffered some form of soil degradation. This usage reflects terminology adopted in the Forest Practices Code.

The objectives of this project were:
1) to review the literature on techniques for forest soil rehabilitation;
2) to describe the current and projected extent of forest soil rehabilitation activities in the province based on consultation with rehabilitation specialists working for industry, government, and other agencies; and
3) to identify gaps in the information base, and the need for future research.

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Updated April 27, 2007