The temporal development of old-growth structural attributes in second-growth stands: a chronosequence study in the Coastal Western Hemlock zone in British Columbia
Abstract:One of the key issues facing forest resource planners is the conservation and recruitment of old-growth characteristics in managed forests. The paucity of long-term data sets in many regions has limited our ability to project the temporal patterns of structural development in second-growth forests. Age-based thresholds have been employed in some jurisdictions, but these lack flexibility and are arbitrary in nature. Here we conduct a chronosequence study consisting of second-growth and old-growth stands in the coastal forests of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to identify structural attributes that are suitable for quantifying and monitoring the progressive development of old-growth characteristics. The following structural attributes were identified and evaluated in the chronosequence analysis: volume and density of large live stems, standard deviation of stem DBH, density of large-diameter snags, volume of woody debris, and understory vegetation cover. The rate at which old-growth structural characteristics developed in second-growth stands varied considerably, with the earliest reaching levels observed in old-growth stands within 112 years, while most requiring 200 to greater than 250 years. The use of quantifiable measures of old-growth structure will help forest managers plan for the continued protection and recruitment of old-growth structure within managed forest landscapes.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Forestry Faculty, University of British Columbia, 3041–2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada. 2: British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Coast Region, 4300 North Road, Victoria, BC V8Z 5J3, Canada.
Publication date: July 5, 2011
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