Bulkley Valley Research Centre - Science in the Public Interest

Stand Level Vegetation Indicators for Boreal Mixedwood Forests

Project Reference Number: 2006-07

Project Status: Complete

Led by: Sybille Haeussler, PhD, Skeena Forestry Consultants, Smithers

Geomorphic Environmental Services, Smithers; Olivia Pojar, Smithers

Funder: Forest Investment Account - Forest Science Program

Project Proposal

Vegetation regrowth six years after the Osborn wildfire near Fort St. John, Photo S. Haeussler

The project objectives were:

1. To contrast < 20 year vegetation successional patterns on experimental sites exposed to a gradient of silvicultural disturbance to those on comparable naturally disturbed ecosystems of the same age.

2. To produce a list of priority vegetation indicators for monitoring the status of plant communities and plant biodiversity after logging in circum-mesic boreal mixedwood forests of BWBSmw1 biogeoclimatic variant in northeastern B.C.

We adapted the methodology of Haeussler and Bergeron (2004) to sample four wildfires in the BWBSmw1 variant near Fort St. John BC and compared the site, vegetation and soils data to BC Ministry of Forests and Range long term site preparation and vegetation management trial sites in the same area (Haeussler et al. 1999, 2002, 2004; Haeussler and Kabzems 2005).

The following vegetation indicators were recommended for operational monitoring of biodiversity and ecological integrity of plant communities on BWBSmw1/01 and /06 ecosystems in the Peace River region:

  • Invasive alien plants.
  • Calamagrostis (bluejoint reed grass) – currently poses a greater threat to plant diversity than invasive alien plants.
  • Berry-producers.
  • Moose browse species
  • Epiphytic lichens.
  • Shade-loving, forest-dwelling herbs (contact the project leader for an appropriate list of species

Any one or more of these indicator groups can be incorporated into a local monitoring protocol (see the Extension Note link below for more details). We recommend using the line intercept method to record their percent cover on line transects established for monitoring coarse woody debris, because this method is less subjective than an ocular estimate. Other indicators examined in the project extension note are not recommended for operational use at this time.

Related Reports

Publication Date Report Title Authors
March 2007 Local Level Vegetation Indicators for Boreal Mixedwood Forests - Extension Note #5 Sybille Haeussler