FRIP Abstracts

WELD-01-073
2000 Relationships between Site and Stand Properties of Lodgepole Pine
Sponsor:
Weldwood of Canada Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
David Brisco, Ecotope Consulting Services, Vancouver, British Columbia
This study investigated how site and stand properties of different ecosites of the Weldwood Forest Management Agreement (FMA) area influence stand response to fertilizer treatments.

Study sites within unmanaged, fire-origin, immature lodgepole pine dominated stands, were established in the Upper Foothills natural subregion of the FMA. Ranging from subxeric to hygric and very poor to very rich, these sites encompassed typical site conditions under which stands of lodgepole pine grow. Two treatments of fertilizer (heavy – 400 kg N/ha; moderate – 325 kg N/ha) were applied to the study sites.

The heavy treatment elicited substantially greater response than the moderate treatment across the majority of stands where it was applied. Total nitrogen content of foliar samples was determined to be the most reliable and consistent measure of foliar response to fertilization. It was also found to be far more closely correlated with relevant stand characteristics, including productivity and volume, than needle weight. The driest and poorest sites exhibited the greatest frequency and magnitude of response. Given individual site characteristics, soil nutrient regime held the greatest influence over response, with stand productivity able to explain the greatest amount of variation in foliar response. In combination with ecosite, it is recommended that a primary filter is applied when selecting stands for potential fertilizer treatment. Several recommendations are made regarding potential for future research trials and considerations for operational fertilization.
WELD-01-084
2001 Enhanced Forest Management Program
Sponsor:
Weldwood of Canada Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Thomas Braun, Weldwood, Hinton, Alberta
This project supports implementation of Weldwood's Enhanced Forest Management (EFM) program. The objectives of the EFM program are to develop and implement management strategies that employ intensive silviculture to provide long-term economically viable yield gains while embracing integrated management of timber and non-timber resources. Additionally, the program seeks to evaluate the potential of enhanced forest management for sustaining and increasing the short term and long term annual allowable cuts.The following EFM projects were established within the Weldwood Hinton Forest Management Agreement area: The projects have furthered development of EFM systems, provided early performance measures of various EFM strategies, and increased operational experience. Continued measurements of established EFM projects will help integrate intensive silviculture with operational practices. All trials are relatively young and scheduled for future measurements.
WELD-01-085
2001 Wildlife Program
Sponsor:
Weldwood of Canada Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Rick Bonar, Weldwood of Canada Ltd., Hinton, Alberta
The 2001 Wildlife Program addresses issues related to integration of industrial activity with terrestrial species conservation in the Weldwood Forest Management Agreement (FMA) area. The program began in 1999 as a single-year project, continued in 2000, and is anticipated to continue in future years. The following nine sub-projects were completed:
WELD-01-109
Factorial Thinning and Fertilization Research Trial - Fourth-year Re-measurement
Sponsor:
Weldwood of Canada Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
Dick Dempster, PhD, RPF, Dick Dempster Consulting Ltd.
The general objective of this trial was to determine the effect of thinning and fertilization, alone and in combination, on the growth and yield of dense lodgepole pine stands.

The factorial trial, which included combinations of two thinning levels (control and 50% basal area removal) and six fertilization treatments (control and five nitrogen fertilizers with additional elements), was established in a 68 year-old, fire origin lodgepole pine stand located in the McLeod Working Circle in Weldwood’s Forest Management Agreement area. Measurements were taken in April 2000 and re-measurements followed in February and March 2004.

Fourth-year results demonstrated relative increases in merchantable basal area and volume increment. Increases of over 30% could be attributed to fertilization regimes alone, whereas increases of more than 80% were attributed to the best fertilization and thinning combinations. Gross diameter and net basal area increments showed positive responses to thinning. Although interactions between thinning and fertilization effects are only marginally significant statistically, there is some evidence that thinning improves the stand’s ability to respond to fertilization. Inconclusive results were observed for height and crown growth, and disease incidence. Correlations between various measures of annual increment and foliar weight or N concentrations however, were found to be more apparent in thinned versus non-thinned stands. Moss biomass was also found to be substantially lower in fertilized plots relative to non-fertilized control plots. This effect dominated the higher herbaceous biomass observed in fertilized versus control plots. Inconsistencies between observed increments and those predicted by TIPSY, and difficulties establishing TIPSY runs comparable to experimental conditions, suggest that other models or calibration of existing models are required.
WELD-01-110
2000 FML Operational Fertilization Trials - 4th Year Re-Measurement and 1998 and 2000 Data Analysis
Sponsor:
Weldwood of Canada Ltd.
Lead Researcher:
David Brisco, Ecotope Consulting Services, Kamloops, British Columbia
Over the past six years, Weldwood’s Hinton Division has established numerous trials under its Enhanced Forest Management program to address concerns regarding the feasibility and implementation of operational fertilization programs. The objective of this re-measurement program was to facilitate the identification of stand responsiveness and help establish a fertilizer benchmark, ultimately improving the management of the forest resource by improving yield forecasting.

Twelve experimental trials were established and fertilized over a period of two years to investigate the responsiveness of mid- to late-rotation, fire-origin lodgepole pine to nitrogenous fertilizer treatments. The trials were established in late-rotation lodgepole pine stands ranging from 40 to approximately 110 years of age, and involved the application of several fertilizer compositions.

Growth response to fertilizers was variable among the tested lodgepole pine stands. Typical volume response was good, but specific stands expressed very small responses or no response at all to the treatments. For those stands that experienced elevated growth rates due to the application of fertilizers, the 4-year total and merchantable gross increment was approximately 7-8 m3, with a maximum of 14m3. Stands located on sites with poor nutrient status were considerably more responsive than those on medium sites, providing greater consistency and magnitude of periodic increment. Unresponsive stands within the trial were easily recognized by the presence of significant alder and herbaceous communities. The most recent year of the trial produced the greatest incremental radial increment. This may not be the maximum annual increment gain resulting from the treatment. Total duration of elevated growth from fertilizer may be up to 10 years. General linear models developed from several easily measured site and stand attributes are able to account for up to 60% of the variation in the trial stands’ growth response to the fertilizer treatments
WEYDV-02-012
Aspen Dynamics in Regenerating Stands in the Boreal Forest
Sponsor:
Weyerhaeuser Company Limited
Lead Researcher:
Victor Lieffers PhD, University of Alberta, Edmonton
The principal objective of this study was to understand the clonal dynamics of P. tremuloides in regards to suckering following clearcutting or suckering in the understory of relatively intact stands. The study focused on the factors controlling regeneration and growth of P. tremuloides in the boreal forest through the following three areas of research:

1. Slow growth rates of P. tremuloides suckers in low-density stands.
2. Impact of Calamagrostis canadensis on P. tremuloides growth rates.
3. Clonal control over suckering in the development of uneven-aged P. tremuloides stands. Field and laboratory work for each research area was completed between March 1997 and October 2004. The results of this study are summarized in seven individual reports and twenty-four published scientific papers.
WEYDV-02-015
Interaction of Cattle Grazing and Aspen Regeneration
Sponsor:
Weyerhaeuser Company Limited
Lead Researcher:
Art Bailey, PhD, University of Alberta, Edmonton
Forestry and ranching interests often conflict on Alberta crown lands when cattle graze in regenerated aspen cutblocks. Foresters fear that grazing activity may reduce stocking, growth and injure regenerating aspen thus promoting future stain and decay of the wood. The general objective of this research was to evaluate the effects of livestock grazing, wild ungulate browsing, and tree harvesting on aspen regeneration and incidence of decay.

The study took place north of Nojack, in the Weyerhaeuser’s Edson Forest Management Agreement area. Harvest and grazing studies were carried out in cutblocks logged in summer 1994. All experimental units were established within the Aspen-Balsam poplar/Green alder/Marsh reed grass community type. Cattle grazed the experimental units from June to September. Ungulates in the study area were assumed to utilize the cutblocks as well (especially during winter). The decay study took place in regenerated aspen stands that were approximately 25 years old.

Aspen regeneration and forage production were maximized with light to moderate skidding disturbance regimes, decreased with no-skid and increased with skidding intensity. Decking disturbances significantly reduced aspen regeneration and forage production. Wild ungulate browsing was not found to affect aspen regeneration, however aspen regeneration was found to be most successful in absence of cattle. Grazing of cutblocks by cattle during August-September was not found to impact aspen regeneration. Annual grazing for four or five years reduced aspen stem height within June-July grazed treatments, thus impeding aspen regeneration. Grazing in June increased aspen wounding and mortality rates relative to July grazing. Aspen stems were most susceptible to cattle damage during June. Deferring cattle grazing until July improved aspen regeneration. By July the aspen stems were less likely to be foraged by cattle. There was no correlation between the percentage of sound, stained, or decayed wood in trees and the intensity of grazing. Although future defect volumes cannot be predicted, the low percent values for decay and stain suggest that the presence of cattle did not lead to an increase in defect volume. This is not surprising since the major decay of aspen, Phellinus tremulae, appears to use broken branch stubs as its avenue for entering the bole of trees.
WEYDV-02-030
Evaluation of Benefits of White Spruce Underplanting in Aspen Stands
Sponsor:
Weyerhaeuser Company Limited
Lead Researcher:
Dave Kent, Weyerhaeuser, Edson, Alberta
Weyerhaeuser’s Edson and Drayton Valley operations have adopted a management strategy of underplanting aspen stands with white spruce seedlings. This project is a review and synthesis of information and data related to understory planting of white spruce in aspen stands. The research review focused on stand level growth and yield gains, biological and silvicultural efficacy and limitations, conceptual stand dynamics and development, growth and yield trajectories, and design of silvicultural and harvesting options.

The results of this project are summarized in the report “Underplanting Aspen Stands with White Spruce: Rationale, Strategies and Interpretations of Historical Trials in Alberta.”
WEYDV-02-031
Rocky Mountain House and Nordegg Districts Fisheries Resource Inventory Program
Sponsor:
Weyerhaeuser Company Limited
Lead Researcher:
L. Morgantini, Weyerhaeuser Company Limited, Edmonton, Alberta
Resource inventory and monitoring the results of management decisions are important components of the fisheries management cycle. For many areas of the Rocky Mountain House and Nordegg Districts the current fisheries information is unknown, or outdated. The purpose of this project was to deliver a fisheries resource inventory program for prioritized drainages of the Rocky Mountain House and Nordegg Districts to facilitate improved resource protection and resource management strategies.

Fisheries data was collected and stored using a standardized methodology. Stream inventories were conducted during the open water season beginning in June and ending in late October 1998.

Information on fish population and aquatic habitats at 12 prioritized drainages in the Rocky and Nordegg Districts was collected. The Alberta Conservation Association established 189 inventory sites, and Rocky Wood Preservers provided information for an additional 66 inventory sites. The collected data is stored in the newly established Provincial Fisheries Management Information System (FMIS). The data was used to produce sport fish presence/absence and habitat classification maps, fisheries information digital hydro layers, inventory site maps and individual survey data.
WEYDV-02-033
Breeding Bird Survey in the Wapiabi and Marshy Banks Region
Sponsor:
Weyerhaeuser Company Limited
Lead Researcher:
Roger Brown, Aspen Ecological Consulting, Edmonton, Alberta
To date, there have been no community-level bird studies conducted in the Wapiabi and Marshy Banks region of Weyerhaeuser’s Drayton Valley Forest Management Agreement area. The objective of the study was to establish sampling stations, survey bird communities in the region, and describe forest characteristics associated with the sample stations.

A monitoring program for breeding bird communities in the study area began in spring 1998. The study area was stratified into twelve distinct habitat types based on stand characteristics (i.e. species composition, stand age). Researchers surveyed alpine habitats and riparian habitats by time-area constrained searches, and surveyed forestland, non-forested meadows and cutblocks with permanently established point-count sampling stations.

The survey data and descriptions of distribution patterns and the abundance of birds throughout the Wapiabi and Marshy Banks study area were summarized. The results from the first year of data collection detail the species richness, species composition, and relative abundance of bird communities in the study area. A total of 101 bird species were detected during the study. Based on the first year of study data, it is possible to make inferences between habitat types and presence of individual bird species. The first year of data also serves as a base year for the comparison of bird abundance indices in future years.

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