Event Website

http://www.nafew2009.org/

Start Date

23-6-2009 4:00 PM

End Date

23-6-2009 4:20 PM

Description

The massive Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) outbreak in northern British Columbia created a unique opportunity to examine ecosystem change over time in response to this disturbance. Prior to this outbreak, the dominant disturbance agents were wildfire and harvesting. A key question is how timber and habitat value will change over time in response to this disturbance and how this might be impacted by extensive clearcut salvage harvest. We have established 48 permanent sample plots in MPB impacted stands. Changes in stand structure, vegetation and functional wildlife habitat along with tree mortality and growth are being monitored. There has been almost complete mortality (98%) of larger lodgepole pine (>22cm DBH) and the current focus of forest operations has been minimize the loss of timber value represented by these stems. However, in many stands there is considerable live understory and significant height and radial release of these stems representing an important future timber value that is lost through clearcut harvest. In addition there are larger live trees in most of these stands and they represent a shrinking habitat resource on these pine dominated landscapes. The larger dead pine are continuously losing timber value through checking and tree fall. At the same time the fallen stems represent valuable habitat. Accounting for the shifting timber and habitat values and determining appropriate management strategies, including no harvest, will be a key challenge for forest managers in these landscapes.

 
Jun 23rd, 4:00 PM Jun 23rd, 4:20 PM

Ecosystem Recovery Following a Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreak in Northern British Columbia: A Case of Shifting Values

The massive Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) outbreak in northern British Columbia created a unique opportunity to examine ecosystem change over time in response to this disturbance. Prior to this outbreak, the dominant disturbance agents were wildfire and harvesting. A key question is how timber and habitat value will change over time in response to this disturbance and how this might be impacted by extensive clearcut salvage harvest. We have established 48 permanent sample plots in MPB impacted stands. Changes in stand structure, vegetation and functional wildlife habitat along with tree mortality and growth are being monitored. There has been almost complete mortality (98%) of larger lodgepole pine (>22cm DBH) and the current focus of forest operations has been minimize the loss of timber value represented by these stems. However, in many stands there is considerable live understory and significant height and radial release of these stems representing an important future timber value that is lost through clearcut harvest. In addition there are larger live trees in most of these stands and they represent a shrinking habitat resource on these pine dominated landscapes. The larger dead pine are continuously losing timber value through checking and tree fall. At the same time the fallen stems represent valuable habitat. Accounting for the shifting timber and habitat values and determining appropriate management strategies, including no harvest, will be a key challenge for forest managers in these landscapes.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nafecology/sessions/recovery/9