FRIP Abstracts

CANFOR-01-019
Ecosystem Management by Emulating Natural Disturbance (EMEND)
Sponsor:
Canadian Forest Products Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
J. Spence PhD, University of Alberta, Edmonton
The overall objectives of the EMEND project were as follows:
1) To determine which forest harvest and regenerative practices best maintain biotic communities, spatial patterns of forest structure, functional ecosystem integrity in comparison with mixed-wood landscapes that have originated through wildfire and other inherent natural disturbances; and
2) To employ economic and social analyses to evaluate these practices in terms of economic viability, sustainability and social acceptability.These objectives are to be achieved through the large-scale harvest-silviculture experiment or approached through modeling based on the experimental results.

The EMEND research study site is located in the Clear Hills Upland, Lower Foothills Ecoregion of Alberta, approximately 90km north-west of Peace River. The site area is characteristic of the boreal mixedwood plains. The research effort presently involves over 30 researchers and 15 graduate students from six Universities (University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of British Columbia, University of Minnesota, University of Lethbridge, Laval University), FERIC and both provincial (ARC) and federal (CFS) research units. This multi-year project began in 1997. The final analysis is anticipated in 60 – 80 years.The main research components for the EMEND study are:
1) Arthropod Diversity 2) Avian Diversity 3) Small mammals 4) Vegetation 5) Mycology 6) Productivity 7) Silviculture 8) Fire Ecology 9) Hydrology and Microclimate 10) Soils and Nutrient Cycling 11) Harvesting Cost Analysis 12) Socio-economics and 13) Genetics.

For reports and additional information on the EMEND project visit the website at http://www.emend.rr.ualberta.ca/english/homepage_e.html.
CANFOR-01-022
Effects of Forest Management and Tree Improvement on Genetic Diversity of Lodgepole Pine and White Spruce
Sponsor:
Canadian Forest Products Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Dr. Ellen Macdonald, Dr. Barb Thomas, and Dr. Ross Hodgetts, University of Alberta, Edmonton
Several Alberta forestry companies partnered with researchers at the University of Alberta to undertake a study examining whether current management practices (ie. harvesting, regeneration, stand tending, and tree improvement) were having an impact on genetic diversity of lodgepole pine and white spruce in west-central Alberta.

Analysis of enzymes found in the needles of these trees was used to provide information on genetic diversity and similarity among stands. For each species, trees in unmanaged stands were sampled to provide baseline information on genetic diversity within the species. The data was then compared to information gathered from stands developing post-harvest.

The study has shown that current management practices are resulting in a small decline in genetic diversity of lodgepole pine but are having no negative impact to the genetic diversity of white spruce. For both species, conservation of rare alleles will require special attention and management strategies. A brochure detailing the findings of the study was developed.

The second component of the study involved the development of microsatellite markers for white spruce and related species. The loci are polymorphic and reliably amplified in up to seven species. The co-dominant alleles at the 13 loci that were tested segregated from one another in maternally-derived haploid megagmetophytic tissue. The markers are therefore well suited for use in population genetic studies, forensics, evolutionary and ecological research, and genetic improvement programs.
DMI-01-009
Hotchkiss River Understory Protection Study
Sponsor:
Daishowa Marubeni International Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Canadian Forest Service, Wesbogy Coop, FERIC, and JD Wilson and Associates
The objective of this study was to evaluate harvesting and silviculture methods for their ability to reduce wind damage to immature white spruce and further, to determine their effects on aspen regeneration.

The study was conducted and completed by various agencies in the Peace River area of Alberta. The final report contains descriptions of the following studies: Stand Response to Understory Protection Techniques, Effects of Soil Disturbance on Soil Properties and Aspen regeneration along Skid-trails, Modeling Growth and Yield for Hotchkiss Understory Protection Project, Harvesting Productivity Research, Hotchkiss Technology Transfer, and Monitoring of Maximum Windspeeds at the Hotchkiss River Mixedwod Management Demonstration Project.

The final report provides the reader with a brief description, and the location of reports or findings related to each study.
DMI-01-013
Experimental Harvesting within Riparian Buffers of Northern Alberta: Determining the impacts of timber harvesting on stream water quality and development of a physically based predictive model for water quality
Sponsor:
Tolko Forest Industries – High Level Lumber Division
Lead Researcher:
P McEachern, E.E. Prepas, PhD, D. Chanasyk, PhD, University of Alberta
The objective of this research was to determine and model the impacts of watershed disturbance on water quality in northern Alberta. The research consists of two projects; The first was focused on the impact of harvesting on stream water quality and the second considered the impact of forest fire on phytoplankton in lakes.

The project took place in the area of High Level, Alberta. Two streams in a steeply sloped mountain valley and four streams in a lowland setting were monitored for hydrologic and chemical patterns in two pre-harvest years, one post-harvest year and one post-harvest post-scarification year. The area harvested in the stream basins ranged from 20% to 50%, with the exception of one mountain basin where no harvest had previously taken place.

Harvesting was found to have caused increases in groundwater levels in mountain basins and a decline in total water discharge from the harvested mountain catchment. Harvesting in lowland catchments did not impact groundwater levels, however caused a 20% increase in the total water yield in two streams located in basins with a high percentage of harvested area. There was no apparent change to total water yield in the stream located in basin with a low percentage harvest. Generally, ion flux declined in harvested basins. Scarification caused an increase in flux rates for the treated mountain catchment, however flux rates were still lower than pre-harvest rates. Exceptions were in the dissolved nitrogen which remained at pre-harvest flux rates and dissolved phosphorus where flux rate increased 23% compared to pre-harvest condition. Following scarification in lowland watersheds, flux rates increased markedly in the basin with 50% harvest and flux rates declined in basins with lower harvest levels, but remained above pre-harvest conditions.
To determine the potential impacts of forest fire in peatland dominated catchments, the project tested nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and light limitation of pelagic phytoplankton with in situ microcosms in three lakes from a Boreal Subarctic ecozone. To assess if phytoplankton assemblages were influenced by water chemistry, changes following fire, phytoplankton species were identified from 10 lakes in unburnt and 10 lakes in burnt catchments.

For the 20 lakes surveyed, phytoplankton species richness was 36% lower in lakes from burnt compared to unburnt catchments. Phytoplankton communities in boreal forest lakes may be particularly sensitive to catchment disturbances such as fire due to changes in phosphorus and carbon loading from peatland enhance nitrogen, and light limitation.
DMI-01-014
Testing Alternative Silvicultural Systems for Harvesting and Regenerating Mineral Wetlands
Sponsor:
Daishowa Marubeni International Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
D. MacIsaac, Canadian Forest Service, Edmonton, Alberta
This multi-year study explores alternative silviculture systems as a means of improving conifer reforestation success on mineral wetland sites. The study has six major components: regeneration silviculture and ground cover assessment, wind damage and wind firmness monitoring, soil temperature monitoring, groundwater hydrology, monitoring local meteorological conditions and microclimate conditions, and plant community response to harvesting.

A white spruce-black spruce/Labrador tea/Horsetail plant community (ecosite phase G1) within the Central Boreal Mixedwood Subregion, 110 km north of Red Earth, Alberta was selected for the research. Two harvesting systems are being evaluated: narrow clear-cut alternative strips and a patch clear-cut. Performance of planted white spruce, black spruce and larch, as well as seeded white spruce is being monitored on scarified (mounded) vs. non-scarified areas. The site was harvested and site prepared in March 1997.

The first year seedling survival was found to be significantly improved in areas harvested using the strip-cut system as opposed to patch cut system, and was best on mounded sites as opposed to sites that had not been mounded. The best survival after one year was 98% for both white and black spruce in the strip-cut. The vegetation development was also found to be reduced on the mounded sites, especially for grass in areas harvested using the patch cut system. Tree blowdown in the strip-cut area was moderate, with no large blowdown events occurring since the first month following harvest. The study also reports steep declines in water table levels which occurred in 1998. Phase II of the study continues under the supervision of Tolko – High Level as project number TOLKHL-01-009.
DMI-01-018
Disturbance Regimes and Ecosystem Dynamics in Boreal Forest Watersheds
Sponsor:
Daishowa Marubeni International Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
P. Lee, Alberta Research Council, Vegreville, Alberta
The Northern Watershed Project was a collaborative research project involving nine representatives from industry, conservation groups and government. The project had three primary objectives: develop and test the impact of different buffer width criteria and subsequent guidelines on the Notikewin watershed, develop predictive models relating fish community structure with watershed attributes in the Notikewin basin and determine the effects of watershed disturbances on fish community structure in the Kakwa and Simonette basins.The project took place over the period from spring 1999 to March 2003. The results are presented in the following four reports:
1. Riparian Forest Management: Paradigms for Ecological Management and Practices in Alberta
2. Stream Fish Management: Defining Relationships between Landscape Characteristics and Fish Communities in the Notikewin River Basin, Alberta
3. Cumulative Effects: Cumulative Effects of Watershed Disturbance on Stream Fish Communities in the Kakwa and Simonette River Basins, Alberta
4. Riparian Forest Management: Simulation of Four Riparian Guidelines on Seral Stage and Canopy Type Distributions on Forests in Northwestern Alberta
HLFP-01-005
Testing Alternative Silvicultural Systems for Harvesting and Regenerating Mineral Wetlands
Sponsor:
High Level Forest Products Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
D. MacIsaac, Canadian Forest Service, Edmonton, Alberta
This multi-year study tested the application of alternative silviculture systems as a means of improving reforestation success on moist-to-wet ecosites that are subject to fluctuating water tables and grassing-in following conventional clearcutting. The study has four major components: regeneration silviculture, wind damage monitoring, groundwater hydrology, and instrumentation for local meteorological conditions, windfirmness, understory microclimate and plant water relations.

A white spruce-black spruce/Labrador tea/Horsetail plant community (ecosite phase G1) within the Central Boreal Mixedwood Subregion, 110 km north of Red Earth, Alberta was selected for the research. Two harvesting systems are being evaluated: narrow clear-cut alternative strips and a patch clear-cut. Performance of planted white spruce, black spruce and larch, as well as seeded white spruce is being monitored on scarified (mounded) vs. non-scarified areas. The site was harvested and site prepared in March 1997.

This study is not yet completed and will continue as research project DMI-01-014 “Testing Alternative Silvicultural Systems for Harvesting and Regenerating Mineral Wetlands.”
MW-01-011
Efficacy of Different Herbicide Treatments for Pre-Commercially Thinning Over-Dense Lodgepole Pine Stands
Sponsor:
Millar Western Forest Products Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Richard Krygier and Tim McCready, Millar Western Forest Products Ltd.
Millar Western Forest Products Ltd. Forest Management Agreement area contains a large wildfire area referred to locally as the Windfall burn. The burn contains large areas of stagnant lodgepole pine stands. This study evaluated the effectiveness of three single-stem herbicide treatment methods for spacing these stagnant stands.

EZ-Ject® lance injection uses a mechanical lance to inject small capsules loaded with gelled glyphosate. Gel-cap® relies on a power drill to drive a screw that pulls a capsule of gelled glyphosate into the cambium of the tree, whereas Release® herbicide is applied to one side of the bottom 30cm of the target tree. Motor-manual spacing using chainsaws was also included in the study for comparison purposes. Stand age at time of treatment was 38 years. The lodgepole pine stand had a density of 10,000 to 15,000 stems/ha, an average height of eight to 10 metres, a mean diameter of four centimetres, and average live crown of 31 percent.

The cost per hectare for the treatment methods ranged from $6650 for mechanical to $700 for Release®. All treatments provided effective control of the target trees. EZ-Ject® caused the greatest crop tree injury, followed by the Release® treatment. No significant differences were found in the crop tree volume growth of the untreated trees between treatments of herbicide and trees in the control plots. Analysis of an older Canfor trial suggests that any gains realized over a ten-year period are likely to be small. Operationally thinning stagnant, middle age lodgepole pine stands using methods similar to this trial could be costly with marginal return. This trial can be of value to companies exploring the use of chemicals to pre-commercially thin stands in which pine trees are a component.
MW-01-039
Influence of Lodgepole Pine Stand Density on Crop Tree Productivity and Wildlife Habitat Diversity
Sponsor:
Millar Western Forest Products Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Applied Mammal Research Institute, Summerland, British Columbia
This study was designed to test the hypotheses that large-scale pre-commercial thinning of lodgepole pine over a range of stand densities enhances productivity and old growth features of lodgepole pine crop trees, stand structure attributes, and species richness and diversity of small mammal communities.

The study areas in British Columbia were located near Penticton, Kamloops, and Prince George. Each study area included three stands thinned in 1988 to densities of 500 (low), 1000 (medium), and 2000 (high) stems/ha, as well as unthinned juvenile pine and old-growth pine stands used for comparative purposes. Understory vegetation was measured in 1990, 1993, and 1998, and stand structure was measured in 1998. Small mammal populations were sampled intensively in 1990, 1991, and 1998.

The results suggest that tree diameter growth, tree crown volume, herbaceous vegetation, multilayered coniferous stand structure, total plant species diversity, and species richness and diversity of small mammals will be enhanced by heavy thinning of lodgepole pine stands to = 1000 trees/ha. The findings conclude that appropriate thinning regimes may contribute to ecosystem management and emulation of natural disturbance patterns.
MW-01-040
Effects of Commercial and Salvage Mechanical Thinning on Wildlife Habitat Use During Winter in Lodgepole Pine Forests in Western Central Alberta
Sponsor:
Millar Western Forest Products Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Jennifer Millar and Stacy Nehring, Millar Western Forest Products Ltd.
In 1997, Millar Western conducted a study near Whitecourt to determine the effects of commercial and salvage thinning of lodgepole pine stands on habitat use by a variety of wildlife species. For the purposes of the study, commercial thinning was defined as thinning occurring in stands younger than 80 years as opposed to salvage thinning which occurs in stands older than 80 years.

The study used track counts, bed counts, and direct observation in two commercial thinning and two salvage thinning areas to assess use by wildlife species. Controls were also established. Stands that were similar to pre-thinned conditions and in close proximity to the thinned stands were also monitored for wildlife use. The wildlife species considered in the study included moose, elk, deer, coyote, fox, lynx, fisher, marten, snowshoe hare, weasel, red squirrel, mice, and birds.

The study found that there was a tendency for moose to both bed down and travel through thinned forests. It is expected that these behaviours are influenced by temperature and snowpack depth. It is therefore recommended that these activities be observed over several winters to see how they are influenced by weather severity. Future research recommendations are provided and may be of interest to companies planning similar studies.

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