FRIP Abstracts

WELD-01-022
Landscape Fire Behavior Patterns in the Foothills Model Forest
Sponsor:
Weldwood of Canada Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
D.W. Andison, Bandaloop Landscape-Ecosystem Services, Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado
The Foothills Model Forest, in cooperation with Weldwood of Canada Ltd. and Jasper National Park, initiated a research program to study natural disturbance in the Foothills Model Forest. The goal of the research was to examine the role of disturbance in the Foothills and Rocky Mountain natural regions of Alberta.

A large dataset consisting of stand origin maps, ecological classification data, forest inventory data, soil mapping, digital elevation model data, and lightening strike data was assembled. The dataset was then used to calculate forested area, natural sub-region areas, age class distribution, burned area, size of the fires, patch shapes, and pattern in relation to lightning incidence.

Each natural sub-region was found to have its own pattern of rates, sizes, and shapes of fires as well as densities of historical lightning activity. Although logical hypotheses could explain the movement of fires in different areas, the data did not allow for a complete review of landscape fire behavior. This study demonstrated that fire is neither a random nor a ubiquitous process, rather fire pattern and behavior are surprisingly landscape specific(i.e. natural sub-region).
WELD-01-023
Structure of Forest Stands Disturbed by Wildfire and Logging in the Rocky Mountains
Sponsor:
Weldwood
Lead Researcher:
Daniel R. Farr, Christopher P. Spytz, and E. George Mercer

Efforts to conserve the biological diversity of boreal forest stands disturbed by logging are constrained by a lack of information on the structural variability of such stands relative to those disturbed by natural processes such as wildfire. In this study, the abundance, size, condition, and origin of deadwood and live trees in recently burned (34-40 yr) and logged (23-27 yr) coniferous stands in the Rocky Mountains and Foothills of western Alberta was examined.

The structure of fire-origin stands was more variable than that of harvest-origin stands, as measured by live and standing dead trees > 2 m tall and down deadwood > 7 cm diameter. In stands of both origin types, > 90% of standing dead trees were derived from the cohort of live trees germinating after disturbance. Standing dead trees of post-disturbance origin were five times more abundant in burned stands (25.9 ± 4.9 trees per plot, mean ± SD) than logged stands (4.9 ± 4.6 trees per plot). Few large fire-killed standing dead trees were present in the burned stands (3.1 ± 1.3 trees per plot), with most having fallen and contributed to a large pool of down deadwood. The down deadwood derived from the previous stand was a dominant feature of burned stands, reaching volumes of over 150 m3 / ha, approximately four times the volume of pre-harvested origin down deadwood in logged stands. Stands of both disturbance types contained similar amounts of down deadwood from trees derived from trees germinating after fire or logging.

Within protected areas where prescribed fire may be the preferred management tool, the study suggests a greater range of deadwood supply. Forest managers attempting to increase the range of deadwood to maintain or emulate natural processes should retain variable amounts of standing live and dead trees during harvesting to provide recruitment of down deadwood for the future.
WELD-01-024
Pinto Creek Goat Study
Sponsor:
Weldwood of Canada Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Donna Harrison and Janis Hooge, Prince George, British Columbia
The study took place in the Weldwood Forest Management Agreement (FMA) area, in the Pinto Creek area, 60 km northwest of Hinton. The Pinto Creek mountain goats are the only known canyon-dwelling goat herd in Alberta. The herd is considered atypical of goat populations due to their constant use of forested habitats. Mountain goats have continuously occupied the Pinto Creek area at population sizes between eight and 27 animals since the earliest records in 1942. The known range of this herd includes approximately 17 km of canyon habitat along Pinto Creek and surrounding area. The goats use a series of cliffs that are connected by trails through forested areas.

The study objective was to determine seasonal distribution, movement patterns and habitat use of mountain goats in the Pinto Creek study area, as well as determine the biological, physical, and spatial parameters that explain selective use of cliffs, and determine the number and sex distribution of the herd and the extent of genetic isolation of the Pinto Creek goat population.

The field component of the study was completed between May 17 and August 18, 1996. Ground and aerial surveys were used to estimate present population and population structure. Observations of goat sign (ie. pellets, tracks, shed goat hair, remote camera pictures) indicated use of habitat.

A minimum population estimate of 27 goats was obtained. The population structure consisted of seven kids, three yearlings, four sub-adults, eight nannies, four billies and one unclassified. Field observations indicated that use of cliff units and forested habitat is greater and more widespread than previously predicted.
WELD-01-038
Natural Disturbance Research Program
Sponsor:
Weldwood of Canada Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
D. Andison, Bandaloop Landscape-Ecosystem Services, Belcarra, British Columbia
The Foothills Model Forest (FMF), in cooperation with Weldwood of Canada Ltd., Alberta Lands and Forests and Jasper National Park, initiated a research program to study natural disturbance in the FMF. The goal of the research is to examine the role of disturbance in the Foothills and Rocky Mountain natural regions of Alberta.Projects initiatives over the past two years included:This Natural Disturbance Program is ongoing. Updated information on the Natural Disturbance Program is available on the FMF website at http://www.fmf.ca/pa_ND.html.
WELD-01-040
Pinto Creek Goat Study - 1997
Sponsor:
Weldwood of Canada Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
D. Harrison and M. Gillingham, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, British Columbia
This study took place in the Pinto Creek area of Weldwood’s Forest Management Agreement (FMA) area, 60 km northwest of Hinton. The Pinto Creek mountain goats are the only known canyon-dwelling goat herd in Alberta. The herd is considered atypical of goat populations because of their constant use of forested habitats. Mountain goats have continuously occupied the Pinto Creek area at population sizes between eight and 27 animals since 1942. The known range of this herd includes approximately 17 km of canyon habitat along Pinto Creek and surrounding area. The goats use a series of cliffs that are connected by trails through forested areas. The study objectives were to determine seasonal distribution, movement patterns and habitat use of mountain goats in the Pinto Creek study area, determine the biological, physical, and spatial parameters that explain selective use of cliffs, and determine if the Pinto Creek mountain goats are an isolated population.

Work was completed between summer 1996 and fall 1997. Direct and indirect observations were used to determine seasonal distribution, movement patterns and habitat use by Pinto Creek goats. Direct observation methods included visual sightings of goats. Indirect methods included use of remote sensing cameras, winter track counts, pellet plots, and location of shed goat hair, tracks, and goat pellets. To explain selective use of cliffs by goats in the study area, researchers collected the biological and physical data of each cliff. Collection of DNA samples within the study area and Jasper National Park were sent for DNA analysis.

Population estimates for summer 1996, winter 1997 and summer 1997 were 27, 18 and 23, respectively. Goats were observed within all cliff complexes, although use varied, primarily by season. There was no apparent pattern of winter goat distribution based on track survey data. Work continues towards determining whether the Pinto Creek goats are an isolated population.
WELD-01-041
Pinto Creek Goat Study - 1998
Sponsor:
Weldwood of Canada Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
D. Harrison and M. Gillingham, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, British Columbia
This study took place in the Pinto Creek area of Weldwood’s Forest Management Agreement (FMA) area, 60 km northwest of Hinton. The Pinto Creek mountain goats are the only known canyon-dwelling goat herd in Alberta. The herd is considered atypical of goat populations because of their constant use of forested habitats. Mountain goats have continuously occupied the Pinto Creek area at population sizes between 8 and 27 animals since 1942. The known range of this herd includes approximately 17 km of canyon habitat along Pinto Creek and surrounding area. The goats use a series of cliffs that are connected by trails through forested areas.

Work was completed between summer 1996 and fall 1998. Direct and indirect observations were used to determine seasonal distribution, movement patterns and habitat use of Pinto Creek goats. Direct observation methods included visual sightings of goats. Indirect methods included use of remote sensing cameras, winter track counts, pellet plots, and location of shed goat hair, tracks, and goat pellets. Collection of DNA samples within the study area and Jasper National Park were sent for DNA analysis.

During the winter, researchers found goat signs in forests up to 410m from the cliffs. The presence of goats in forests indicates the potential for conflict between logging activities and mountain goat movements along the Pinto Creek canyon. Data indicates that the Pinto Creek goat herd is likely part of a larger or at least more wide-ranging population. Initial DNA analysis confirms the Pinto Creek population of mountain goats appears to be a unique population compared to other populations of mountain goats. Confirming that the Pinto Creek mountain goats are an isolated population is not possible without GPS tracking of male and female goats in the Pinto Creek goat population.
WELD-01-043
Environmental Effects of Fertilization in Forest Stand Tending: A Literature Review
Sponsor:
Weldwood of Canada Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Penner and Associates Ltd.
This literature-based project was initiated to assess the environmental effects of silvicultural applications of fertilization in forest stand tending.

The assessment entailed the assembly, review and synthesis of published and unpublished literature on forest fertilization related to environmental effects on soils, vegetation, water quality, fish and aquatic communities, and wildlife. The current state of knowledge was assessed for its adequacy in addressing scientific issues and public concerns related to forest fertilization. Models were created to link cause and effect of forest fertilization application on soils, vegetation, water quality, fish and aquatic communities, and wildlife. The models aided in the review process and simplified the reporting of findings. The literature review focused on nitrogen-based (ie. urea and ammonium nitrate) fertilizers.

Research findings and conclusions were presented, summarizing to what extent forest fertilization alters soils, vegetation, water quality, fish and aquatic communities, and wildlife.
WELD-01-056
Foothills Model Forest Natural Disturbance Research Program
Sponsor:
Weldwood of Canada Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
D. Andison, Bandaloop Landscape-Ecosystem Services, Belcarra, British Columbia
The Foothills Model Forest (FMF) formed the Natural Disturbance Program in 1996. The collaborative program between industry and government was developed to understand and describe how natural forces such as fire, insects, disease, flooding, wind, and plant-eating animals have created historical patterns of disturbance on the FMF land base. It is an extensive effort that includes numerous studies, some of which extend well beyond the FMF borders.

Between 1998 and 2000 multiple studies were initiated, technical transfer increased and additional member companies and agencies joined the program.The following activities and reports were completed:This project is ongoing. Updated progress of the Natural Disturbance Program is available on the FMF website at http://www.fmf.ca/pa_ND.html.
WELD-01-061
Soil Nutrients and Understory Species Associated with Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) Forests in the Lower Boreal-Cordilleran Ecoregion of Alberta
Sponsor:
Weldwood of Canada Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Kevin Szwaluk, Masters student, University of Calgary
This study tested two hypotheses. The study considers whether there a relationship between nutrient levels (i.e. N, P, K, S, Mg, Ca, Fe, and Al) in the forest floor litter and uppermost mineral soil zone, and the height growth rate of lodgepole pine, and whether vegetation composition and abundance related to the availability of nutrients in the forest floor litter and uppermost mineral zone.

Forest floor litter, uppermost mineral soil zone nutrients and plant species were assessed for 42 lodgepole pine stands in the Lower Boreal-Cordilleran Ecoregion of Alberta. These stands were separated into three site index classes which represented a gradient from poor to better quality sites. Extractable nutrient levels in the forest floor and uppermost mineral zone were associated with site index classes. Other properties collected included understory species, thickness of forest floor and uppermost mineral soil horizon, humus form, soil texture, course fragment content, pH, and bulk density.

Properties of forest floor litter and uppermost mineral soil were found to be associated with lodgepole pine height growth. Regression equations based on plant species percent cover explained greater variance in site index properties than soil properties. The strongest models included both plant species cover and soil properties.
WELD-01-065
Environmental Effects of Juvenile Spacing and Commercial Thinning of Forest Stands: A Literature Review
Sponsor:
Weldwood of Canada Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Penner and Associates Ltd.
This literature-based review of environmental effects of juvenile spacing and commercial thinning study was initiated to obtain a practical assessment of the environmental effects of thinning, and to identify management practices that may mitigate adverse effects of thinning programs.

The literature review involved a research database search, assembly and organization of data, and assessment and synthesis on the effects of juvenile spacing and commercial thinning on soil, water, vegetation, and wildlife.

The effects of juvenile spacing and commercial thinning on soil, water, vegetation and wildlife are presented to the reader as a summary of research findings, management practices and conclusions.

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