Module 3 — Stand level components
of biodiversity
British Columbia
Ministry of Forests
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Module 3, Part B — Wildlife trees — continued
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Module 3

General principles for managing wildlife trees

  Wildlife trees (standing dead trees and large live green trees) are an important element of forest ecosystems in British Columbia.

As such, they provide structural complexity to forest stands and function as nesting, roosting, denning, perching and feeding sites for over 80 species of animals native to this province.

The intent of wildlife tree management is to maintain these valuable habitat trees during forest operations, while maintaining worker safety. 

Wildlife tree management includes both 

  • The retention of suitable wildlife trees at the time of harvest and during silviculture activities 

  • The provision for recruitment of suitable replacement wildlife trees over the rotation period

Generally, the most operationally feasible, biologically advantageous, and safest method for retaining wildlife trees is to leave patches (called wildlife tree patches or WTPs) containing both live and dead trees. 

The size of area allocated to wildlife tree retention within any cutting unit depends on:

  • The level and distribution of existing and planned harvesting on the surrounding landscape (Table 1-A
    and Table 1-B)

  • The diversity, abundance, status (red- or blue-listed) and habitat requirements of wildlife tree-dependent species present 

  • Available opportunities for wildlife tree retention

iconWhat is the definition of silvicultural systems?

  Wildlife tree requirements can be applied to any silvicultural system. The seven silvicultural systems used in BC are:
Patch cut
Seed tree

More information can be found at

See Figure 9. Reserves for wildlife trees incorporated into four silvicultural systems.

What do you already know about these three strategies?



There are two types of wildlife tree management strategies commonly used in BC: 

  1. Wildlife tree patch retention

  2. Individual live or dead tree retention 

Although both approaches can be applied within a single cutblock, wildlife tree patches are recommended as the priority approach in most cases.

Next: Wildlife tree patches (WTP)
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Module 3

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