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Silviculture
Manual
S I T E  P R E P A R A T I O N
Introduction

1 Background

Site preparation is any planned measure to prepare a site for the favorable reception and satisfactory growth of either naturally or artificially disseminated seed or planted seedlings. Site preparation should not cause detrimental or excessive soil disturbance, and should be carried out in a cost-effective manner. Through site preparation, factors that are limiting for seedling survival and growth may be overcome. Such factors may include moisture deficit or excess, low or excessive soil and air temperature, and competing vegetation.

British Columbia forest land is managed for timber, range, recreation, wildlife, fisheries, water, and other purposes. The site preparation method chosen must be consistent with these objectives. Site preparation is one phase in an overall silviculture system that will reflect the objectives and strategies of management. Site preparation may be required for hazard abatement, elimination of undesirable residuals, improvement of plantability, redistribution of lodgepole pine cones, improvement of visual quality, enhancement of wildlife cover or browse species, as well as other management objectives.

Unfavorable conditions are normally specific to a forest site series. Soil moisture may be deficient on a warm south facing slope in the IDF Zone but excessive in a water receiving position in the SBS Zone. Obviously, the objective and method of site preparation should be appropriate for each site. The limiting factors of a site series must be evaluated before a method is prescribed.

Sites can be prepared using fire, mechanical or chemical methods, or a combination of these techniques. Each method has its own advantages and limitations, and each is discussed in detail in the following sections.

Site preparation must not inadvertently substitute one set of unfavorable conditions for another. For example, excessive blade scarification can create waterlogged depressions of compact mineral soil when it was intended to alleviate the adverse effects of a deep forest floor.

The objectives of this chapter are to give the reader some background on the available methods of site preparation and to set out the administrative procedures to be followed in planning, supervising and reporting on site preparation projects. Greater detail and information on the technical aspects and effects of site preparation techniques may be obtained from the selected references listed in Appendix 2.


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Copyright 1999 Province of British Columbia
Forest Practices Branch
BC Ministry of Forests
This page was last updated December 1993

Comments to: Tim Ebata <Tim.Ebata@gems8.gov.bc.ca>