1. What changes in regeneration and stand tending practices are needed to promote resilient, valuable forests?


Question 1:
What changes in regeneration and stand tending practices are needed to promote resilient, valuable forests?

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  1. I am now questioning the wisdom of mixed bag planting. While I feel strongly that we need multi species plantations I am concerned that intimate mixtures consign us to a low density of fast growers (eg Pine) overtopping a disadvantaged understory of slower growers (eg spruce)

      1. I have seen examples of clumping working well for mixed species with different silvics (shade tolerance, initial growth rates). However, the clumps do generally have to be sufficiently big to minimise competition from the faster growing neighbouring trees though.

  2. If we would consider uneven aged stands in areas that are easily accessible and have the right infrastructure for a more complex management approach this may no longer be a problem. In this case, slower growing, shade tolerant species will possibly become a more attractive choice.

  3. I also see value in retaining more deciduous cover in stands (i.e. not brushing/herbiciding as intensively). This may impact the growth rate and yield of conventional conifer plantation forestry but will increase the value of the working forest from an ecology perspective. Finding more markets for deciduous trees would add value too, rather than seeing them as weeds.

  4. I’m thinking more at the stratum level where we might go back to seeing spruce ground or pine ground. We do lose some of the nurse crop benefits that Frank alludes to though. In my practice some shelter is beneficial for fir to reduce frost damage or for spruce to reduce weevil. But in the case of nurse crops we need a crop plan to remove the overstory in a timely way.

  5. The absence of burning is a huge issue…..one finds the advent of brushing to neatly coincide with the suspension of broadcast slash burning. Forests are regenerated by fire, not excavators burning precious diesel concentrating all the bio mass in small spaces.

  6. I think we should move away from focusing on Free to grow targets. This creates a “first to the post” mentality. We need to start managing stands based on Stand Management plans and thinking about stocking to get to Juvenile spacing, Then commercial thinning then Harvesting.

  7. Gord, I agree with you on this about a Stand Management Plan which would include Adaptive Man. clauses. I manage a Woodlot in SE int. BC.
    Your plan to juv. sp.-com. thin-harvest wouldn’t work for me due to armillaria, fuel/fire concerns on the landbase, high cost of treatments given current markets and managing for a multitude of other resource values . I believe BC needs an overhaul in the Tenure system, sawmills are primarily interested in making a profit from their lumber. You are right about the disappointing results we are witnessing. As a Woodlot Licencee I like to think my “profit” is the Forest (condition) I leave after harvest.

  8. In the northern interior plateau there are significant issues with pine stem rusts. Under our old ‘traditional’ FSP there was little movement for acceptability of species other than pine and spruce in low elevation dry sites and we had numerous sites where a lot of money spent still did not result in even minimum standards. The ‘new’ FSP allows for the use of larch and Douglas fir as alternatives to let us meet the legal FG stocking levels. Thus my message is to have Forest Stewardship Plans that have flexibility.

  9. I welcome this opportunity for a productive dialogue on developing silvicultural options for adapting to climate change – with the goal of producing resilient, diverse, valuable forests. Science based principles, processes and tools are needed to assist in the development of these (local) adaptation options. A science – management partnership would be necessary. Do we have this capacity now in BC?

  10. This post addresses all 5 questions; as they were all linked together in my thought process. Some of the questions were quite specific in nature, however it is important to recognize there is a broad spectrum of landscapes in BC, and an equally broad spectrum of current practices, so I tried to keep this post more general in nature.
    Recognizing that there are a few landscape level stocking standards out there, the vast majority of our areas are managed and reported at the standard unit level. This tends to force us into looking at small individual units and we often don’t look at the overall health of the landscape we are operating within. It also limits our ability to apply many of the concerns mentioned in other posts. For example, a 2ha SU with a deciduous component may require brushing to meet legal standards, even if that 2ha SU is within a 500ha opening that is fully stocked to conifers. Looking at the aspen from that perspective it may seem rather counter productive to brush the aspen! However we do, because we report on the SU.
    There is the other issue of target stocking and minimum stocking and accountability. We have a minimum standard for a reason, sometimes mother nature just roughs us up despite our best efforts. Or sometimes we as professionals desire to try something new – in the hopes of improving silviculture if it works. But if it doesn’t work, we should not be penalized for taking risks in the desire to advance our field, if this was the case silviculture would soon stalemate. However the goal obviously is to manage to the target (recognizing there are different opinions on what the target should be). Regardless of the target, we are held accountable to only meeting the minimum (which as mentioned above is good). The downfall to this however is that there is currently no method of holding players accountable who may purposely not be managing to the targets, or who consistently do not meet the target. Reporting declarations by the SU increases the complexity of monitoring how we are doing on the larger landscape as a whole. Landscape level reporting would address some of this. It would also allow professionals to make decisions to exceed targets on higher site productivity areas, and have this counter balance other sites where it may not be as beneficial to manage to higher standards (wildlife habitat, low site productivity stands for example). We must also address the tenure systems which does not give incentive to licensee’s to manage to higher standards, and the competition factor between licensee’s which can result in low cost/marginal silviculture practices. The existing method of compliance through risk of fine does not seem to be working to advance silviculture practices. Perhaps we should rethink how we award players who perform to exceptional standards. Similar to the Alberta model where companies who can demonstrate practices that increase MAI; are awarded higher AAC. Other incentives may include stumpage breaks or faster CP review and approvals.
    Regarding climate change; we do not know exactly what the impact will be, nor do we have the solution. We have some ideas, and we are implementing some changes to address climate change true. However given we are facing an unknown, it seems important that we try many different things, for that if one of them doesn’t work, at least we have a variety of options out there. Options again, at the landscape level. Diversity. Diversity is the key. Diversity in species, and diversity in the spatial pattern of those species. Diversity does not necessarily mean planting a 30/30/30/10 mixed composition on each individual site at a specific density. Diversity means it’s OK to plant 100% species mixture on one site, but ensure that throughout the landscape there is diversity. Diversity in seedlots chosen. Diversity in densities. Diversity in site preparation; in silviculture systems and retention levels, diversity in regeneration practices from natural regen to direct seeding to planting. There is much discussion around enhanced silviculture practices and increased planting density as being the solution. I do not believe this to be true. We should be applying this in some of our areas true, but not to the extent that it reduces our overall landscape diversity and diversity of silviculture practices.
    Should we be collecting more information in our FG surveys? Currently the data collected is more a means of checking off that we met our legal requirements. It was not set up as a monitoring and inventory type survey. Perhaps this could be re-visited, especially if moving to more landscape level monitoring and linking MAI to harvest volumes.
    Thanks for sticking with me if you made it to the last line. Cheers!

    1. Thanks a lot Sara! All points are really valuable information and really helpful for us to address in our report.

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