Bulkley Valley Research Centre - Science in the Public Interest

Carbon Dynamics of Planted and Natural Regeneration Stands in the Northern Interior Following Wildfires

Project Reference Number: 2019-3, 2020-37

Project Status: Active

Led by: Dr. Alana Clason

Funder: BC MFLNRORD, Forest Carbon Initiative - Science and Research Agenda, Canada Summer Jobs Program

The goal of this research is to quantify the density, composition, growth, and survival of regenerating trees, standing and downed wood in rehabilitated (i.e. seedlings planted) and non-rehabilitated sites after wildfire.

A chronosequence approach is being used to understand how regenerating stands vary over time in terms of their forest composition, growth, and carbon dynamics and wildlife values The effects on carbon dynamics of the density, growth rate, survival and species established as well as the legacy of trees that remain standing or downed following fire is being assessed.

Stands across site and climate gradients that burned between 1983 (e.g. Swiss Fire) and 2015 (e.g. Bobtail) were sampled. Forest stand dynamics models (e.g. SORTIE) will be used to forecast relative future above-ground carbon pools and wildfire values under different scenarios of planting as well as no planting. Scenarios will include future climate change projections on tree growth rates. Extension material such as guidelines document, visual guides, infographics will be produced. Journal papers will be published, and results disseminated through new media, seminars, conferences, workshops, and collaborator networks.

In the summer of 2020, the field crew worked sampled 75 plots in SBS across dozens of wildfires to quantify reforestation and standing and downed wood in rehabilitated and non-rehabilitated sites after wildfire. Wildfires were mostly in Nadina and Vanderhoof and some in Prince George and Quesnel Districts. Data was collected on live and dead trees (carbon), as well as on moose forage species. Data entry and lab work (soils and forage biomass) is ongoing. Preliminary results are likely by spring 2021. The project is funded to March 2022.