Canadian Forest Service Publications

Decision support framework for assessing alternative mountain pine beetle management strategies on sustainable forest management. 2008. Chan-McLeod, A.C.; Vernier, P.; Mitchell, S.J. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre, Victoria, BC. Mountain Pine Beetle Working Paper 2008-18. 20 p.

Year: 2008

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 29046

Language: English

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

Availability: PDF (download)

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We developed a decision support framework that facilitates the assessment of alternative mountain pine beetle (MPB) management strategies on wildlife and other sustainable management indicators. Specifically, the framework permits the evaluation of ecological trade-offs (i.e., the probability of occurrence of bird species; landscape composition and configuration; wildlife habitat supply) under alternative salvage logging strategies. An additional function of the framework is to identify areas of uncertainty where data gaps continue to limit decision-making. We demonstrated the application of the decision support framework by evaluating the consequences of five specific salvage harvesting strategies in a case study of a forest landscape in northeastern British Columbia. The five strategies included: 1) a baseline scenario based on current management practices in MPB-affected landscapes; 2) a scenario for salvage-logging-only stands with high pine composition; 3) a scenario for salvage logging stands that included minimal pine; 4) a low retention scenario where relatively few trees are retained within large cutblocks; and 5) a high retention scenario where more trees are retained in large cutblocks than currently practiced. In our case study, we used a subset of the components identified in the conceptual framework since many parameters (e.g., stand-level attributes) were not widely available and could not be scaled up to the case study landscape. The components were for: 1) simulating infestation, salvage logging and forest succession, 2) tracking landscape-level changes in avian probability of occurrence and supply of broad habitat types, and 3) facilitating scenario analysis and decision-making. We identified some broad patterns in species responses over time and helped to identify areas of uncertainty that are the result of model limitations and data gaps. In our case study, avian response was dictated more by the bird species' natural history traits than by differences between management regimes. However, eligibility criterion for salvage logging (i.e., the amount of pine in the stand) was generally more important than the stand retention levels used in our simulations in governing post-harvesting avian response.