The West Arm Demonstration Forest
David Crampton

Extension Note 003


The West Arm Demonstration Forest was proposed in response to local public concern with current forest management practices. The Demonstration Forest can operationally test the principles of "New Forestry /New Perspectives". New Forestry is a concept that was developed in the Pacific Northwest, and consists of modified practices that better accommodate ecological values, while allowing for resource extraction.

The Demonstration Forest is located on the north shore of the West Arm of Kootenay Lake, between Kokanee Creek in the west and Queens Creek in the east. It is approximately 14 500 ha in total, with 6 000 ha of operable ground. It has many resource values which include:

The West Arm Demonstration Forest is proposed as an operational size forest for demonstration and research purposes. Many objectives are addressed through a "resource emphasis" planning approach. This approach identifies the most important resources in specific areas. All resource values such as aesthetics, water, timber, wildlife, and recreation are considered. In some ecosystems, however, a single resource may be managed exclusively.

In areas where timber harvesting will occur, the emphasis will be on the demonstration of innovative silvicultural systems such as selection or other partial cutting systems. As a first step, inventories of several components of the ecosystem are being completed. Several of these inventories are not usually undertaken for current operational development plans, but, they are a necessary investment in the Demonstration Forest to help researchers and operational staff understand which measurements are key components. Some of the more unusual inventories include woody debris, rodents, and bats. Several of these new measurements may be added to operational inventories. The Researchers and operational staff will have specific roles in the development and management of the West Arm Demonstration Forest.


The Demonstration Forest will provide a large scale area in which to study a broad range of forest values. The research will range from nonconsumptive inventories to investigation of innovative harvesting methods. A wide variety of biological, physical, and social research is required to assist in the management of forested landscapes. Research will be coordinated at the Regional level.

The researchers include: the Ministry of Forests, Nelson Forest Region, Forest Sciences - Section; the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks; Forestry Canada; the Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada (FERIC); and the Universities of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. A list of research projects and initial inventories under way has been compiled.


The Demonstration Forest is within the chart areas of the Kootenay Lake Forest District, Small Business Forest Enterprise Program. The Small Business Program makes timber available for qualified operators on a competitive bid basis. The Forest Service is responsible for planning, road construction, and reforestation. In addition to increasing our understanding of forest management, it is expected that the West Arm Demonstration Forest will contribute to the local long-term timber supply. Staff at the Kootenay Lake Forest District will supervise operational matters such as road construction and timber harvesting.


Most contact with members of the public will occur at the district level. On August 15, 1992 a public workshop was held to begin an effective public involvement process for the West Arm Demonstration Forest. Several public interest groups will become part of a joint planning team that will review all operations and research plans.


The West Arm Demonstration Forest has been designed to address forest practice issues that are of interest to operational forestry staff and the public. Both research and operations activities will be communicated to technical staff and the public through a variety of research papers, newsletters, and field tours.

September 1992

For further information, contact:

Deb Delong Forest Sciences Section,
Ministry of Forests,
518 Lake Street,
Nelson, B.C. V1L 5P4
Phone: (250) 354-6285

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