FRIP Abstracts

OF-02-015
Integrating Grizzly Bear Conservation Needs
Sponsor:
Foothills Model Forest
Lead Researcher:
Gordon Stenhouse, Foothills Model Forest, Hinton, Alberta
In 1999, the Foothills Model Forest (FMF) initiated an international, co-operative, multidisciplinary grizzly bear research program. The primary goal of the six-year program was to provide knowledge and planning tools to land and resource managers to ensure the long-term conservation of grizzly bears in Alberta. An important outcome of this program was the development of tools and techniques that address landscape level conservation issues, a critical component for the successful management of grizzly bear populations throughout Alberta and North America.

The first phase of the FMF Grizzly Bear Project took place between 1999-2003. It resulted in significant findings for both land and wildlife management, and the creation of important new management tools.

In the second phase of the FMF Grizzly Bear Project, researchers pursued two primary objectives: to provide grizzly bear habitat maps, probability of grizzly bear occurrence maps, and bear travel corridor maps for grizzly bear populations units in Alberta and to increase understanding of grizzly bear health, specifically body condition and reproductive health parameters, as they relate to landscape and environmental parameters.

The Foothills Model Forest Grizzly Bear Research Program 1999-2003 Final Report is divided into chapters that provide the technical detail of the findings for each research component. A full listing of technical papers is available on the FMF website at ww.fmf.ab.ca.
OF-FOO-02
New Interdisciplinary Tools and Models for Grizzly Bear Conservation
Sponsor:
Foothills Model Forest
Lead Researcher:
Gordon Stenhouse, Foothills Model Forest, Hinton, Alberta
In 1999, the Foothills Model Forest (FMF) initiated an international, co-operative, multidisciplinary grizzly bear research program. The primary goal of the six-year program was to provide knowledge and planning tools to land and resource managers to ensure the long-term conservation of grizzly bears in Alberta. An important outcome of this program was the development of tools and techniques that address landscape level conservation issues, a critical component to the successful management of grizzly bear populations throughout Alberta and North America.

The first phase of the FMF Grizzly Bear Project took place between 1999-2003. It resulted in significant findings for both land and wildlife management, and the creation of important new management tools.

In the second phase of the FMF Grizzly Bear Project, researchers will pursue two primary objectives: to provide grizzly bear habitat maps, probability of grizzly bear occurrence maps, and bear travel corridor maps for all grizzly bear populations units in Alberta and to pursue understanding of grizzly bear health, specifically body condition and reproductive health parameters, as they relate to landscape and environmental parameters.

A full listing of technical papers is available on the FMF website at ww.fmf.ab.ca.
ROCKY-01-009
Developing a Windrow Composting Program for Managing Wood Residuals
Sponsor:
Rocky Wood Preservers Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Mike Cody, Olds College Centre for Innovation Compositing Technology Centre, Olds, Alberta
This study explores the development and use of composted sawmill wood residues. The study involved a literature review on compost use in silviculture, a wood waste composting pilot study, development of a compost operations manual, greenhouse and field trials using composted wood waste, and a cost/benefit analysis.

The literature review focused on physical, chemical and biological modifications of soils as they relate specifically to potential forestry operations such as reclamation of degraded sites, transportation of bulk materials, use of wood residuals, and collaboration with municipal waste management programs. Compost application has shown to improve or ameliorate water retention, compaction, soil structure, nutrient deficiency, extreme pH, ion exchange, mycorrhizal association and disease infection. The benefits of compost application are not universal, and therefore careful consideration must be made prior to the application of compost.

Composting hog fuel and post peelings is a relatively easy process given that the recommendations detailed in the compost operations manual are followed. The Carbon/Nitrogen (C/N) ratio of the final product remained high (100+). Normally, organic materials with C/N ratios above 30 cause N immobilization when applied to soil, resulting in N deficiency for plants. However, the C/N ratio could be lowered with the addition of mineral N during the composting process.

Survival and growth of coniferous seedlings following soil amendment with wood-based compost was evaluated in the greenhouse and in degraded and non-degraded field sites. The potential for development of disease suppressive compost from conifer bark was also evaluated in a laboratory bioassay. Wood-based compost and/or fertilizer was found to significantly improve white spruce seedling survival on the degraded field sites. However, when not combined with a fertilizer application, wood compost was associated with reduced growth of lodgepole pine and white spruce in the greenhouse, likely a result of N immobilization in the compost. The compost prepared from conifer bark was found to suppress the damping-off by Rhizoctonia solani in all cases.

Composting wood residuals using a windrow system as detailed by the compost operations manual, is estimated to cost $10-20/tonne. The current market price for bulk, non-specialized compost in southern Alberta is about $20/tonne (loaded at the composting site). In cost/benefit analysis, Rocky Wood Preservers found that the cost of producing compost exceeded the current market price.
SPRAY-01-005
Effects of Livestock Grazing, Wildlife Browsing, and Forest Harvesting on Lodgepole Pine Regeneration
Sponsor:
Spray Lakes Sawmills 1980 Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Ed Korpela, Ph.D., Alberta Research Council, Vegreville, Alberta
This study investigates the effects of livestock grazing, wildlife browsing and forest harvesting on lodgepole pine regeneration. Results from this study may be referenced and used to improve reforestation success and facilitate discussion between the forest industry and ranchers.

The study took place between 1996 and 2000 in the Foothills south and west of Sundre, Alberta. The study evaluated the effects of slash disposal techniques, competing vegetation, wildlife and livestock browsing and grazing upon lodgepole pine regeneration and forage production.

The study confirmed that livestock does browse and trample seedlings, however it was found that wildlife browsing may exceed the impacts of cattle, as mortality was actually 10% higher in the enclosures that excluded cattle. Browsing was found to have negligible effects on height growth after five years. The data demonstrated that the greatest reduction in both survival and growth of the regenerating seedlings was in fact due to competition. Bracke scarification increased survival and growth of planted seedlings, however also increased the incidence of browsing. The presence of slash in the block increased the number of pine germinants. It also increased the incidence of browsing perhaps due to the lack of alternative forages resulting from the slash accumulation. The presence of slash also increased the amount of mechanical damage to the seedlings possibly from animals stepping on seedlings to avoid stepping on slash. The study suggested that winter desiccation and resultant top kill may reduce the ability of regenerating cutblocks to meet provincial reforestation standards. Harvested cutblocks can supply a significant amount of forage for both livestock and wildlife for a number of years following harvesting however, there was no clear relationship between cutblock age and forage production. This finding has significant implications to grazing management, and survival and growth of lodgepole pine regeneration.
SUNDAN-01-028
Preventing Stain in Pine Logs by "Sour Felling" and Biological Protection of Sawlogs Against Bluestain
Sponsor:
Sundance Forest Industries Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Tony Bryne, Dave Minchin and Adnan Uzunovic, Forintek Canada Corp., Vancouver, British Columbia
It is estimated that bluestain fungi cost the Alberta forest industry at least $30 million in 1998. This study explores the potential for reducing bluestain through the use sour-felling techniques (the delayed delimbing of felled trees) and biocontrol agents.

Three sour-felling trials were conducted in 1999, 2000, and 2001. The trials measured the amount of blue-stain in both sour-felled and delimbed trees following 6-7 and 12-13 weeks of summer storage. It was found that during summers where bluestain developed, there was significantly less stain in sour-felled trees. In addition, logs that had been sour-felled tended to develop much less surface mould growth than the logs that had been delimbed at the time of harvest. The finding is most likely attributed to the reduction in bark damage, moisture or nutrients in the sour-felled trees.

The biocontrol portion of the study was completed in summer 2000. The trial tested the feasibility of using biocontrol agents Cartapip and Gliocladium roseum to protect logs from bluestain fungi. Both Cartapip and Gliocladium roseum showed promise in preventing stain from developing during the critical first 12 weeks of storage in freshly felled logs. However, further trials are required to ensure consistent results prior to use of the biocontrol agent industrially.

Bluestain appears to be more prevalent in logs with larger butt diameters. However, it is undetermined as to the specific summer conditions that cause logs to have a higher susceptibility bluestain fungi, and therefore when sour-felling and biocontrol agents could be appropriately employed.
SUNPIN-01-036
Development of Growth Intercept Models
Sponsor:
Sunpine Forest Products Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Bob Held, Sunpine Forest Products Ltd., Sundre, Alberta
Site index equations are highly relative to mature stands, however the equations or site curves are less accurate in estimating the site index of young stands. The height growth of younger trees tends to be more sporadic and therefore greater variation exists in site index curves at younger ages. The use of growth intercept models allows for more accurate estimates of site index at younger ages. The goal of this project was to provide Sunpine Forest Products with the appropriate operational growth intercept (GI) models for lodgepole pine as well as a draft strategy for applying GI models to the landbase.

The project began with the destructive sampling of 108 lodgepole pine site-trees in 37 plots located across a range of poor, medium and good sites in the Sunpine Forest Management Agreement (FMA) area.

Fixed-time growth intercept models, relate site index to a specified time interval above a reference height. The growth intercept is the annual height growth for the first 3, 4, 5 and 6 years above the reference height (i.e. 0.3, 0.75 and 1.3 m). In contrast to fixed-time modeling, variable-time growth intercept models allow the user to input variable heights thus adding to the flexibility of application in the field. This procedure relates total length above the reference height (RH) and the time interval in years above that RH. Both models can be used in the field provided the age input is accurate.
TOLKHL-01-07
Boreal Caribou Research Program
Sponsor:
Tolko Industries Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Bruce Avery, Tolko Industries Ltd., High Level, Alberta
Under the Alberta Wildlife Act, woodland caribou are designated as threatened due to reduced distribution, declines in regional populations and the threat of further declines associated with human activities. Established in the early 1990’s, the Boreal Caribou Committee and Boreal Caribou Research Program seeks to develop a framework in which stakeholders are able to make knowledge-based management decisions regarding industrial activity on caribou range in northern Alberta.

The Boreal Caribou Research Program consists of four components: long-term population dynamics, habitat selection and range mapping, linear corridors, predation and hunting, and cumulative effects.

Population and distribution of woodland caribou in Alberta has been reduced, however the extent of the reduction and the number of actual caribou remaining is largely unknown. There are extensive research projects and management programs ongoing in Alberta, with the majority of research having taken place within the last 10 years. However, current land use guidelines for industry have proven to be ineffective in terms of providing for long-term caribou conservation. The research and management undertaken by various regional committees has increased our knowledge of caribou ecology, however advancing this knowledge to better understand the effect of human activities on caribou is of greatest importance.
VANDER-01-003
The Use of Mats to Reduce Grass Competition
Sponsor:
Vanderwell Contractors (1971) Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Brian Makaruk for Vanderwell Contractors (1971) Ltd., Alberta
This study explored the ability of Tredegar mats to suppress growth of established Calamagrostis canadensis around planted seedlings.

Between July 31 and August 4, 1995, approximately 3,000 white spruce containerized seedlings were planted in a six-year-old block south of Slave Lake. Planters screefed a 30cm x 30cm patch through the established Calamagrostis canadensis sod and planted a seedling in the centre of the screefed patch. The planters then pushed down the grass outside the screef and installed a 90cm x 90cm Tredegar mats around each seedling.

The survival rate of the seedlings three years following planting was 23%, with surviving seedlings showing poor growth in both height and root collar. The mats were ineffective in controlling established Calamagrostis canadensis, however may be more effective if installed prior to establishment. Seedlings in plots located in an adjacent block exhibited better growth and survival, demonstrating the effectiveness of excavator mounding site preparation in controlling Calamagrostis canadensis.
WELD-01-011
Effects of Timber Harvesting Methods on Terrestrial Lichens and Understory Plants in West-Central Alberta
Sponsor:
Weldwood of Canada Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Kenneth Kranrod, Masters student, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta
The purpose of this study was to examine the short-term effects of various timber harvesting operations and identify specific logging methods that reduce mechanical damage to terrestrial lichens, shrubs, herbaceous plants and terrestrial bryophytes present in woodland caribou habitat northwest of Hinton.

Pre-harvest measurements were carried out in summer 1994, blocks were harvested in fall 1994/winter 1995, and post-harvest measurements were completed in summer 1995. Harvest operations consisted of combinations of summer or winter harvest, stump-side or roadside delimbing, and presence or absence of scarification. The eight combinations of harvest variables were used to determine the differential effects of each practice as well as any possible additive effects.

The study found that all species decreased in abundance following each treatment combination. The greatest reductions in lichen and plant communities were observed following summer logging and stump-side delimbing with scarification, with the smallest reductions in lichen and plant communities observed following winter logging and stump-side delimbing without scarification. A greater understanding of timber harvest methods that reduce ground disturbance is important when considering the maintenance of important lichen forage species for woodland caribou immediately following harvest activities.
WELD-01-018
Freeze-core Sampling for Sediment Intrusion from Road Crossings in Small Alberta Foothill Streams
Sponsor:
Weldwood of Canada Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Liane Spillios, Masters student, University of Alberta
Sediment intrusion into streambed gravel can affect fish populations by suffocating fish eggs, hindering the removal of metabolic wastes, and preventing newly hatched fish from emerging. In addition, excess sediment can change channel morphology, and decrease habitat for overwintering, food availability, and spawning success. The primary objective of this study was to determine whether there was more fine sediment downstream of stream crossings than upstream of first to third order streams in the foothills of west-central Alberta.

The study area is located in the Hinton-Edson foothill region of west-central Alberta. In 1995 and 1996, 15 gravel-bottomed streams with similar channel sections upstream and downstream of crossings were sampled. The streambed substrate near the bridges or culverts were examined and sampled for sediment intrusion. To keep the samples within a reasonable distance from stream crossings, a zone of influence was identified. Downstream samples were taken within this zone of influence, while upstream samples were taken outside the influence of the crossing. The streambed material was sampled in September and October of the respective years using the freeze core method, a technique whereby streambed substrate is frozen to a probe and then extracted for analysis.

Particles less than two mm in diameter including silt, clay, and to a lesser degree sand have been found to influence rainbow trout embryo survival. The study found that narrow streams had a significantly greater amount of this fine sediment downstream than upstream, and a generally greater amount of fine sediment overall than wide streams. Both wide and narrow streams on average were also found to have a greater amount of sand, silt and clay downstream than upstream in both sample years. All of the streams sampled had a greater amount of fine sediment present than what is desirable for developing embryonic fish in sections upstream and downstream of crossings.

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