Windthrow is a natural disturbance agent in BC's forests but can impact integrated management prescriptions which depend on maintenance of residual trees within or adjacent to harvested areas. Post-harvest windthrow can reduce the effectiveness of prescriptions for riparian and biological reserves, visual quality and partial cutting. Salvaging windthrow disrupts harvest planning.
The traditional methods of windthrow management were location of block boundaries to reduce windthrow, and progressive salvage of damaged areas. The Forest Practices Code (FPC) still provides flexibility for salvaging windthrow, but requires enhanced prediction and management. The role of windthrow as a natural disturbance agent is recognized and when windthrown areas are salvaged, retention of some structural features is desired.
Current best management practices contain guidelines for the protection
of riparian and gully areas and biological diversity. This requires windthrow
assessments in specific circumstances. New management practices make windthrow
management more challenging. Smaller blocks with more complex boundaries,
partial cuts, and reserve areas increase the number of trees at risk,
and limit a manager's ability to locate boundaries in windfirm locations.
Pre-harvest windthrow assessment procedures and new techniques such as
feathering and topping/top-pruning have been developed to assist managers.