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Criteria and guidance considerations for sustainable tree stump harvesting in British Columbia

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Stump extraction for forest health has been carried out operationally in British Columbia (BC) for many years. Emerging bioenergy opportunities plus the anticipated need for more fibre because of reductions in timber supply may increase interest in stump harvesting, but there are numerous environmental, economic and policy barriers that must be overcome first before industrial-scale stump harvesting can be seriously considered in BC. The potential for a future change in practice provides an opportunity to learn from the existing literature and identify knowledge gaps. In this article we review the available literature on stump harvesting from the European Union within the context of BC's forests, economy, biodiversity, environment and policies. We provide recommendations on how the government of BC could move forward if they decide to enable stump harvesting for fibre and bioenergy, including assessment of net economic and carbon benefits and environmental effects, improvements in inventory and the scientific knowledge base needed to support policy and guidance, and investigation of operational enhancements.

Keywords: Stump harvesting; biodiversity; forest economics; soil disturbance; sustainability

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Victoria,BC, Canada 2: British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Nelson,BC, Canada 3: British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Victoria,BC, Canada 4: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Summerland,BC, Canada 5: Pacific Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest Service,Natural Resources Canada, Victoria,BC, Canada 6: British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Nanaimo,BC, Canada

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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