Current forest management policy in many jurisdictions in North America manages excess woody debris by piling and burning it, mainly as a post-harvest fire hazard abatement obligation. This study highlights three key points to consider regarding utilization and disposal of waste wood piles:
1) Allocate most woody debris waste to the biofuels sector in a cost-effective manner;
2) Allocate a small portion of woody debris (e.g. 10-15%) to implement windrow habitats where necessary to maintain mammalian biodiversity on clearcuts;
3) Limit burning of waste wood to those sites near human activity (potential fire hazard) that do not have an opportunity for biofuels or windrow purposes.
Forest managers in western Canada are now treating old forest roads and harvested sites to mitigate environmental concerns. This Compendium has been developed to assist practitioners in western Canada in selecting and implementing restoration measures appropriate to their needs and conditions. Watershed restoration activities, techniques and research trials in western North America are described and contacts for further information are given. Additions to the Compendium will be made on an ongoing basis.
This report documents the costs and productivities of group-selection harvesting of one-third of a stand in an old-growth cedar–hemlock forest in the interior wet-belt of British Columbia while preserving caribou habitat values. The group-selection harvesting was compared to clearcut and single-tree selection treatments. Harvesting costs were strongly influenced by the merchantability of the harvested stems and the criteria for selecting trees to be harvested. The single-tree selection had the lowest cost because of the selection criteria and merchantability while the group selection had the highest cost. The group selection treatment’s harvesting costs were about 22% greater than for the clearcut treatment.
We surveyed fire behaviour experts and wildlife biologists to rank the importance of four factors that affect the costs and benefits of seven post-harvest debris treatments and to determine the overall costs of each treatment to the forest industry and Alberta’s government. The four factors are fire behaviour potential, wildlife suitability, regeneration capability, and treatment costs.
In 1997, the Cariboo Forest Region of the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, in co-operation with the Williams Lake Division of Weldwood of Canada Limited, carried out a study to examine how harvesting trees from several small openings within a block affects mule deer winter habitat. FERIC monitored the harvesting component of the project, and compared the productivities and costs of working in canopy openings of different sizes.
From the perspective of improving habitat quality for wildlife, harvesting (clearcutting) with residual blocks represents an alternative to large-area clearcuts, in which the harvested areas are separated by narrow leave strips of standing timber. In 1997, Quebec's Ministry of Natural Resources and Ministry of the Environment and Wildlife cooperated with Donohue Inc. and FERIC in a study that is comparing the economic impacts and wildlife utilization for the two harvest scenarios. This Technical Note describes the results of a comparative analysis of harvesting costs for the two approaches, and demonstrates that over a 30-year horizon, the approach with residual blocks averaged approximately $0.45 to $0.67 per m3 more expensive on an annual basis (0ver a 30-year period) than the current practice of using leave strips.