Bulkley Valley Research Centre - Science in the Public Interest

Range of Natural Variation in Structural Attributes of Young Stands: Refining Current Indicators

Project Reference Number: 2006-17

Project Status: Complete

Led by: Ruth Lloyd, Mackenzie

Olivia Pojar, Smithers

Funder: Forest Investment Account - Forest Science Program

Structural attributes of old forests, including downed wood, large live trees, dead and decaying trees and patches of shrubby vegetation, provide critical habitats for a variety of mammals, birds, invertebrates, plants and lichens. Legislation (e.g., Forest and Range Practices Act) and land-use plans (e.g., Sustainable Resource Management Plans, Landscape Unit Plans, Forest Stewardship Plans) prescribe retention of wildlife tree patches — with a variety of structural features — in young managed stands. However, high uncertainty about the threshold amount of structure needed to maintain biodiversity currently limits the usefulness of wildlife tree patches as an indicator of sustainability. A risk assessment undertaken by the Babine Watershed Monitoring Trust highlighted resolution of this uncertainty as a top priority.

The results of this research project will be used immediately by the Babine Watershed Monitoring Trust to inform analyses of the risk and uncertainty associated with various management activities. The data will also be used to test a disturbance classification system that considers the amount and dispersion of overstorey removal, understorey removal and forest floor disturbance (Roberts 2004). Such a system should provide a more complete characterization of disturbance, help in the design of management techniques that better mimic natural processes, and aid our understanding of the impact and implications of existing management practices.

The project objectives are:

1. To synthesise existing information on stand structure in young naturally-disturbed stands.

2. To collect and analyse new data on stand structure in young naturally-disturbed stands.

3. To determine likely RONV for structural attributes for clusters of site series, within BEC subzones, for different disturbance types.

4. To test a disturbance classification system.


Related Reports

Publication Date Report Title Authors
2007 Range of Natural Variation in Structural Attributes of Young Stands:  Refining Current Indicators Ruth Lloyd, Karen Price, Phil Burton and Dave Daust