The existing stocking standards for mainland coastal regions, which ranged from 500 to 900 trees per hectare, were reduced to 200 to 600 trees per hectare. The lowest stocking levels were set for the wetter sites in the valley bottoms, which are very important for producing grizzly bear forage. Higher stocking levels were set for the valley bottom's drier sites, which are less important for forage production, but still very productive for growing conifers.
While the revised stocking standards were based on the best available information, they had yet to be proven under actual field conditions. No one knew exactly how the new stocking levels would affect grizzly bear forage production or to what extent the economics of timber harvesting would be affected. Still, one thing was relatively certain--if a potential shortage of coastal grizzly bear habitat was to be avoided in the future, it was necessary to begin implementing the reduced stocking standards as soon as possible.
For an example of how reduced stocking standards could be implemented to preserve grizzly bear habitat, see the Establishment to Free Growing Guidebook, Appendix 9, example 3 ("Deviation from the established stocking standards is recommended: maintenance of grizzly bear habitat").
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