Forest Stewardship for Mountain Pine Beetle Salvage


The enormity of the mountain pine beetle infestation in central British Columbia is resulting in an accelerated harvest to salvage the dead trees while they maintain economic value. Agreement holders face the challenge to design and implement the salvage harvesting to meet requirements including but not limited to; riparian protection, conservation of water quality and fish habitat, soil protection and biodiversity. Standard forest planning requirements apply, though salvage cutblocks will generally be large - to more closely mimic the historic natural disturbance regime. The legislative requirements under the Forest and Range Practices Act and Forest Practices Code transition require that harvested cutblocks larger than the defined maximums must resemble openings caused by natural disturbance. To resemble natural disturbance, increased stand structure in the form of; tree retention, understory vegetation and coarse woody debris, is generally required. Tree retention will therefore be higher than defaults for standard size cutblocks. The increased retention will serve a variety of functions including but not limited to:

  • increased protection for riparian areas
  • maintenance of non-pine species for biodiversity, seed source and future harvest opportunities
  • protection of sensitive soils
  • increased maintenance of stand structure from either live or dead trees - with intact forest floor
  • allowing for cutblock design that more closely mimics natural disturbance.

The guidance documents at this website are provided to help agreement holders plan and implement salvage harvesting - including road building and maintenance. The extent of the beetle killed area means harvesting will be done on areas of changing hydrologic regime with uncertain impacts on many forest resources. Experience has been gained from harvesting of other large areas of natural disturbance - this experience has been considered in the documents provided at this site.




Design of large cutblocks to resemble natural disturbance