Canadian Forest Service Publications

Ecology of the 2004 morel harvest in the Rocky Mountain Forest District of British Columbia. 2008. Winder, R.S.; Keefer, M.E. Botany 86(10): 1152-1167.

Year: 2008

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 28945

Language: English

CFS Availability: Order paper copy (free)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1139/B08-045

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In the Rocky Mountain Forest District of British Columbia, a dramatic series of fires occurred during 2003, setting the stage for an abundant morel crop in the following year. During 2004, the abundance of post-fire morels (Morchella spp.) was measured and the plant community associated with morel production was characterized. Morel production averaged 6473 ± 2721 morels/ha in five burnt forests that were surveyed. Production ranged from 1702/ha at Plumbob Mountain to a significantly higher 16827/ha in the Kootenay National Park, where the highest level of duff consumption (71%) was also observed. Several plant species had high importance in morel habitat, and were also associated with above-average morel abundance: Chamerion angustifolium (L.) Holub, Arnica cordifolia Hook., Erythronium grandiflorum Pursh, Spiraea betulifolia Pallas subsp. lucida (Dougl. ex Greene) Taylor and MacBryde, Menziesia ferruginea Sm., Rosa acicularis Lindl. subsp. sayi (Schwein.) W.H. Lewis, Pinus contorta Dougl. ex Loud. var. latifolia Engelm., Abies lasiocarpa (Hook.) Nutt., and Picea glauca (Moench) Voss × engelmannii (Torr. & Gray ex Hook.) Brayshaw. Compositae and Vaccinium spp. were important species when considered as groups. Grass species, including Calamagrostis rubescens Buckl., were more proximate to morel-free plots. The characteristics of morel habitats observed in this study may be useful in future management of the resource, through conservation of habitat, management of prescribed burning, and postponement of salvage logging in potentially highly productive areas.