Canadian Forest Service Publications

Exploring opportunities for mitigating the ecological impacts of current and future mountain pine beetle outbreaks through improved planning: A focus on northeastern British Columbia. 2008. Seely, B.; Nelson, John; Vernier, P.; Wells, R.; Moy, A. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre, Victoria B.C. Mountain Pine Beetle Working Paper 2008-08. 56 p.

Year: 2008

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 28783

Language: English

Series: Mountain Pine Beetle Working Paper (PFC - Victoria)

Availability: PDF (download)

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The primary response to the present mountain pine beetle (MPB) epidemic has focused on salvaging beetle-killed wood while it remains economically viable, and developing methods for reducing the spread of the current epidemic and the risk of future outbreaks. While these are important and necessary activities, we cannot afford to pursue these objectives without a careful consideration of their ecological implications. Mountain pine beetle salvage activities at the stand and landscape scale can have substantial ecological impacts including: reduction in the habitat supply of forest-dependent songbirds, loss of mature habitat, shifts in seral-stage patch size distributions, and changes in stand dynamics. The massive scale of the current outbreak has pushed the boundaries of our understanding from previous outbreaks to the point that some of the core assumptions around sustainable economic and ecological forecasts now must be re-examined.
Using an established modelling framework, we conducted a scenario analysis exercise designed to explore opportunities to mitigate the ecological and economic impacts of MPB salvage for two possible outbreak severity levels in Canfor's Tree Farm License (TFL) 48 in northeastern BC. The following questions were addressed:

  1. What are the potential short and long-term impacts of different levels of MPB attack for indicators of sustainable forest management in northeastern BC?
  2. Assuming a reduction in landscape-level ecological and economic stocks, what management options are available that will maintain a profitable harvesting profile while sustaining ecological indicators? Results from the analysis were evaluated in the context of a range of ecological and economic indicators.