Photo of Grizzly bear walking in river

One of the major recommendations to come out of the 1991 herbicide study called for more research into alternative silvicultural techniques to better integrate grizzly bear habitat requirements with timber harvesting. Tony Hamilton, a Wildlife Research Biologist with BC Environment, and the principal researcher in the herbicide study, spearheaded the follow-up to that recommendation.

Hamilton pushed for a move towards reforesting coastal valley bottoms with known grizzly bear populations in a manner that mimics the natural conditions found in those areas. The natural vegetative cover in the lower elevations of coastal valleys generally consists of clusters of mature conifers, with numerous groupings of deciduous trees, open brushy areas, and skunk cabbage swamps.

"Grizzly bears depend on diversity above all," says Hamilton, "and we need to take a proactive approach now to ensure that quality grizzly habitat is available in the future."

Hamilton's first step was to meet with Ted Nash, a Silviculture Officer with the Vancouver Forest Region of the B.C. Forest Service. Hamilton presented Nash with some of his ideas for managing coastal valley bottoms in a way that would promote the growth of grizzly bear forage throughout the entire length of a rotation. His proposal involved: reducing the reforestation stocking standards (specified number of crop trees per hectare) for coastal valley sites; spacing and pruning existing reforested sites to encourage grizzly forage production; and developing guidelines to assist silviculturists in managing areas with important grizzly habitat.

Hamilton's proposal was met favourably by Nash and the Vancouver Forest Region.

Photo credits.

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