Object & Deliverables
The purpose of this project was to see how utilizing a natural disturbance approach to forest planning would affect the long-term management of both woodland caribou populations and timber harvesting in identified caribou habitats. Major operational changes include large harvest block sizes and the retention of merchantable timber in leave patches within harvest blocks. Since the effects of implementing these changes on forest ecosystem components remains unknown, this pilot monitoring program was proposed to monitor the short and long-term impacts on various biological components of blocks harvested in this manner.
Forest vegetation composition and structure, avian abundance and species richness, and red squirrel characteristics were similar within and among both the experimental and standard harvest blocks. The observed general similarities of all these characteristics were supported by statistical comparisons which revealed no significant differences in the abundance of these major components. Therefore, few pre-treatment differences existed at the plot scale (between treatment types in each of the blocks) and at the block scale (between experimental harvest blocks with retention patches and standard harvest blocks without retention patches).