Canadian Forest Service Publications

An economic analysis of management practices to mitigate butt rot and deer browse of planted western redcedar, Bryan E.C. Bogdanski, Injamam Alam, Derek Sattler, Mike Cruickshank, Mario Di Lucca, Cosmin N. Filipescu, and KenPolsson

Year: 2023

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 41018

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Mark record


We consider the economic feasibility of silviculture investments to reduce butt rot(through stump removal) and ungulate browse damage (stand establishment strategies),which are the most serious impacts to planted western redcedar (Thuja plicata Donn ex D. Don) stands in coastal British Columbia, Canada. We find mixed support for these investments, even if carbon sequestration benefits are included. We do find butt rot causes significant material damage to volumes, but such damage tends to occur well intothe future of the stand diminishing the negative impact on stand value. As such,given the high costs of stump removal, and despite losses of high-quality logs, we find little support for stump removal except under very low discount rates (2%). Deer browseimpacts are found to occur in the early stages of stand development, and projected stands should sufficiently recover volumes and value by harvest age.However, under positive carbon prices, because deer browse mitigation measures have an immediate impacton biomass accumulation in the early stages of stand development, we find some conditions for which low-cost deer browse mitigation options might be economically supported on forestlands.Finally, we found that increased planting of seedlings is likely alow-cost, financially attractive option under a broad set of conditions, even on sites without risk to damage, meaning a possible no-regrets strategy to mitigate damages from either deer browse or decay. The benefits of planting highlight the feasibilityof using tree breeding to increase growth, resistance to deer,decay, and drought.The methods developed in the paper to evaluate the impact of both root rot and ungulate browsing could be applied to other ecosystems elsewhere.

Plain Language Summary

The paper investigates the economic feasibility of conducting forest stand management practices that would reduce the damaging impacts from root diseases and deer browse on western redcedar (WRC) in British Columbia. The paper considers the values of timber and carbon sequestration/emissions produced from the planted stand of western redcedar. The results do not support investments in either direct management of disease or deer browse on account of the high cost of these activities and the ability of WRC to recover enough value in time without measures. The paper does find support for a general strategy of planting higher than normal western redcedar seedlings at time of stand establishment due to both its low incremental cost and marginal increase in both timber and carbon benefits. Consequently, the paper lends support for continued research and adoption of improved WRC seedlings that are disease, browse or drought resistant.