Module 3 — Stand level components
of biodiversity
British Columbia
Ministry of Forests
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Module 3, Part C — Coarse woody debris — continued
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Module 3
CWD applications for forest management





iconAre there other application recommendations that you think could be added?
Name them.

  There are many coarse woody debris (CWD) applications for forest management.
  1. Dispersed CWD is preferred over large accumulations.

  2. Avoid large accumulations, especially on landings and roadsides, bearing in mind that some accumulations will be inevitable for reasons of safety and operability.
    Some small CWD piles dispersed in cutblocks may be appropriate to provide valuable habitat for some mammals. However, keep large pieces of CWD out of roadside/landing piles.

  3. Maintain residue and waste well distributed across the block (avoid practices such as piling and burning). However, CWD should be concentrated near special habitats such as riparian areas where present.

  4. Leave non-merchantable material on site

  5. Leave acceptable levels of blowdown on site as CWD 
    The silviculture prescription should identify acceptable levels of windthrow or other damage in WTPs or other areas beyond which salvage may occur.

  6. Moose, VanderhoofMove CWD off trails to decay naturally

  7. Where provision of small mammal and furbearer habitat (Marten) is a management objective, CWD can be piled in short, low-height windrows (<=1 m high), or piled on top and around large stumps.

  8. Larger pieces of CWD are more valuable than smaller pieces — they last longer, hold more moisture, and are useable structures for a greater number of organisms.

  1. Leave a range of piece sizes (small to large for diameter and length)

  2. If woody debris must be chipped, spread the chips thinly (<10 cm deep) on the forest floor to maintain biomass levels on site — chipping is not, however, recommended.

  3. Minimize movement of pieces of CWD

  1. Small piles and windrows are acceptable, but, where possible, CWD scattered across a site is more valuable

  1. If piling, mix pile treatment with scatter treatment

  1. If windrowing, break up windrows

icon How do/could you use these recommen-
dations in your work? If not, why not?
  1. In travelled or high use areas, slash CWD to the ground (this helps prevent potential injury from suspended logs) 

  2. Modify whole-tree harvesting by limbing and topping on site

  3. Ecologically, it is advantageous to maintain the full range of decay and diameter classes and species of CWD on every site — different organisms and ecosystem processes require CWD in different stages of decay (hard to soft).
    The faster decay rate of deciduous CWD likely provides significant short-term ecological benefits.

  4. During reforestation, if required, modify stocking standards to meet CWD objectives (i.e., due to debris accumulation and number of plantable spots)

  5. During stand tending, use variable density spacing, plan for retention of WTPs, and maintain some deciduous species to recruit CWD

  6. Riparian photograph, CranbrookBalance objectives for coarse woody debris with other management objectives (firewood supply, fire hazard, backcountry vs. urban interface)

  7. Manage the composition and arrangement of CWD within acceptable levels of risk for wildfire, insect pests and forest disease outbreaks.

  8. Harmonize the retention of CWD with all other silvicultural objectives.

  9. Maintain variability in the levels of CWD at the landscape level.
    The natural distribution and amounts of CWD will vary according to biogeoclimatic gradients, stand types, and stand development history.
    Although the natural distributions of CWD cannot be mimicked exactly, it is important that CWD management captures landscape variation and site-specific variations through different management practices.

  10. During reforestation, site-specific, inter-tree spacing distances may be appropriate to meet CWD objectives.

  11. During stand tending, plan for retention of WTPs, use variable density spacing, and maintain some deciduous species to recruit CWD.

  next Next: CWD harvesting methods
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Module 3

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