Long-term silviculture experiments contribute to science-based forest management in British Columbia's public forests

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Mitchell, Al K.
Vyse, Alan
Huggard, David J.
Beese, William J.
Protests over clearcutting public forestlands have been a part of British Columbia’s forest policy scene for the last two decades. Pressure to modify silvicultural systems has resulted in the installation of a number of long-term silviculture experiments in British Columbia. In this paper we focus on how two of these experiments (MASS, Sicamous Creek) are being used to compare silvicultural systems, and to test hypotheses related to the retention of forest structure and the long-term influence of edges, aggregates and single trees on ecological processes. Results have shown that a given silvicultural treatment can have both negative and positive impacts depending on the values (e.g. regeneration, biodiversity, nutrient cycling) under consideration. The management influence of these experimental results are less obvious. The MASS project, as an operational demonstration, has had a substantial impact on the practices of one major company in coastal British Columbia, but the Sicamous Creek project has yet to have any major direct impact. We comment on the reasons for such differences, the prospects for continued funding, and lessons learned from conducting long-term projects such as these.
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