Canadian Forest Service Publications

Alternatives to clearcutting in BC Coastal Montane Forests. 1997. Arnott, J.T.; Beese, W.J. The Forestry Chronicle 73(6): 670-678.

Year: 1997

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 4889

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Abstract

The Montane Alternative Silvicultural Systems (MASS) partnership was formed in 1992 to test new approaches to harvesting high-elevation old-growth forests of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Uniform Shelterwood (SW), Green Tree Retention (GT) and Patch Cuttings (PC) were tested as alternatives to Clearcutting (CC). All systems were compared to an Old Growth (OG) control. Harvesting was completed in 1993. This paper summarizes the conclusions from the operational aspects of the study and reviews some early results from studies of the biological impacts. Harvesting costs to roadside were about 12% greater for the PC and GT and 49% greater for the SW. Cumulative losses to windthrow after three years were 25% in the GT and 5% in the SW. Site disturbance, soil compaction and rates of organic matter decomposition were low across all harvested treatments. Rates of organic matter decomposition and N mineralization on SW, GT and PC were intermediate between CC and OG. Nutrient loss in soil solution was reduced with partial harvesting but lack of available nitrogen is limiting the early growth of coniferous regeneration among all systems. During spring and summer, SW and CC treatments were generally cooler than PC or GT. Damage to understory vegetation and advanced conifer regeneration was least in the SW, which also provided the greatest amounts of seedfall among all harvested treatments.