- Designing Successful Forest Renewal Practices for Our Changing Climate--- Mother Tree Project
Background: In late 2015, Canada's Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) announced that this strategic project grant (SPG), led by Dr. Suzanne Simard (University of British Columbia), was selected for funding in the themes of ‘Natural Resources’ and ‘Optimizing Resource Extraction, Harvesting and Renewal’.
In late 2015, Canada's Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) announced that this strategic project grant (SPG), led by Dr. Suzanne Simard (University of British Columbia), was selected for funding in the themes of ‘Natural Resources’ and ‘Optimizing Resource Extraction, Harvesting and Renewal’. Dr. Simard is a leading expert in forest ecology and silviculture systems, especially regeneration silviculture. Her team of co-investigators at the Universities of British Columbia (Les Lavkulich, Bill Mohn, Jason Pither), Alberta (Justine Karst), and Reading (U.K.) (Brian Pickles) have a range of skills that cover forest soil biogeochemistry and microbiology, mycorrhizae, facilitation of seedling regeneration, assisted migration of Douglas-fir, and analysis of ecosystem structure and function.
Maintaining key structural and functional properties of ecosystems has long been a central objective of sustainable resource management in British Columbia. However, the risks and uncertainties associated with climate change mean that protecting and promoting forest renewal and the various ecosystem goods and services will be increasingly challenging. Recent mortality in plantations and natural forests in British Columbia, including that caused by insects and diseases amplified by climate change, indicate that standard operating practices (clearcutting and replanting with nursery-grown seedlings) urgently require reassessment. We need to understand ways to achieve successful forest renewal after harvesting or natural disturbances in a changing climate. This is crucial to the long-term sustainability of our forests, including their ability to promote a healthy Canadian forest sector, support biodiversity and store carbon. Our project includes several above- and below-ground studies, which in combination will ultimately identify optimal harvesting and regeneration methods for Interior Douglas-fir forests in British Columbia within the context of a changing climate.
(1) To evaluate the effects of various forest removal treatments, including differing levels of variable retention harvesting, and regeneration using various tree species mixtures, on regeneration success, productivity and diversity
(2) To evaluate the effects of legacy trees (trees that remain on site) (healthy, stressed, and dying) on forest regeneration, specifically their impacts on seedling survival success via soil properties, including root symbiosis.
(3) To investigate the performance of local wild, selected, and migrated seed sources during the establishment years, with the aim of optimizing seed mixtures for regeneration success
(4) To quantify the links between forest ecosystem structure and function, above- and below-ground, and how they are moderated by alternative renewal methods
Check our project website for more information: Mother Tree Project, mothertree.forestry.ubc.ca/
- Rethink Silviculture: Development of a Discussion Paper on Silviculture Practices
Background: In late 2016, a group from the UBC Faculty of Forestry are facilitating a web-based discussion forum seeking input from forest professionals on the topic, “Are We Promoting Future Forest Resilience?’.
We would like to use this moderated blog as a mechanism for discussions on silviculture practices that can grow and build. Obviously there is a wealth of experience, ideas, and opinions out there and we are eager to create a forum where we can give each other feedback.Ultimately our goal is to find out if folks think our silviculture practices and/or policies need to change in order to create stands which are healthy and resilient in the face of risk. We are climbing out of Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB), the failure of the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) is looming, and the specter of climate change keeps creeping closer. Here are a couple of questions that we think might start the discussion in the direction of our ultimate question:
1. Do current regeneration practices adequately address risks from climate change and forest health factors to rotation age?
2. In your opinion, is application of the “free-to-grow” concept resulting in stands that will meet government objectives for timber and other values
(1) What changes in regeneration and stand tending practices are needed to promote resilient, valuable forests?
(2) Do current regeneration practices adequately address risks from climate change and forest health factors all the way to rotation age?
(3) In your opinion, is application of the “free-to-grow” concept resulting in stands that will meet government objectives for timber and other values?
(4) How could free-to-grow regulations and other silvicultural policies be changed to promote resilient and valuable forests?
(5) What tools (decision-support tools, models etc.) do you use to help you make silvicultural decisions? How could they be improved?
We invite you to join the discussion: blogs.ubc.ca/silviculturediscussion/