WATSON RANGE UNIT FOREST INGROWTH MANAGEMENT STRATEGY by q2ENdC71

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									     WATSON RANGE UNIT FOREST INGROWTH MANAGEMENT
                        STRATEGY

Introduction

The purpose of this document is to develop a strategic plan for the implementation of the Kootenay
Boundary Land Use Plan NDT4 Guidelines. The intent of the NDT4 guidelines is to “improve the
productivity and health of fire-maintained forests and rangelands by restoring stand structure and species
composition through modern methods of logging, thinning and prescribed burning”. Previous resource uses
and management practices, including harvesting, grazing, Christmas tree activities (appendix A) and
suppression of fires, have resulted in excessive overstocking of pole sized Douglas-fir of low quality,
lodgepole pine seral patches and decreasing and degrading open grasslands dominated by lower quality
grass and shrubs.

Methodology

The study area was initially mapped by land ownership, tenure holders and previous resource activities to
determine feasible areas for the implementation of the NDT4 guidelines (eg. Christmas tree permits are not
considered for the re-introduction of fire). Initial treatment units were set based on:

1) Historic patterns of development that would allow for, or restrict, the re-introduction of fire to the
   ecosystem. This included recognition of possible fire guards and burn boundaries;
2) Biogeoclimatic subzone. This was done to delineate, based on elevation, the NDT4 from the NDT3;
3) Current vegetation cover.

Following this initial mapping exercise the areas were ground checked to determine management priorities
for the implementation of the NDT4 guidelines.

Guiding Principles

The following guiding principles were used to set treatment scheduling:

(a) The Kootenay/Boundary Fire-Maintained Ecosystem Restoration Components and Targets (Table 1)
    and the Kootenay Boundary Land Use Plan Fire Maintained Ecosystem (NDT4) Management
    Guidelines (Table 2) would guide, but not dictate, areas to be managed under each of the 4 ecosystem
    component types within any individual range unit. Rather the percentage of each component would be
    considered for the entire NDT4 within the Invermere Forest District. This could mean that any given
    plan area could potentially exceed or lack in any given component.
(b) The current levels of crown closure, over the entire management unit, would be the maximum
    allowable over time.
(c) Current tenure holders would be respected in the development of the strategy.
(d) It is desirable to reintroduce fire, where feasible, into these ecosystems in-order to keep crown closure
    in check, invigorate shrubs and grass, and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires.
(e) Stand tending activities and harvesting prior to initiation of burns, to capture existing volumes and
    avoid wasting current under sized volumes would be employed were possible.
(f) Harvesting could occur over time in all ecosystem components.




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Overview:

This management strategy covers the Watson Range Unit located North of the “Sheep Creek North” range
unit.
This range unit has two dominant characteristics:

1) There is a high proportion of the land base in private title. This is especially true in the lower elevation
   IDFdm2 subzone. The amount and distribution of the private lands causes a number of logistical
   concerns when trying to manage the NDT4 type. These include restrictions to the reintroduction of
   fire, connectivity issues and uncertainty over private land management.
2) The upper elevations, which are within the MSdk and ESSFdk sub-zones, have a site index’s
   conducive to timber production as the primary activity.

TREATMENT UNIT ONE

Description:

This treatment unit is located within the IDFdm2 subzone, with a maximum elevation of 1170m, and is
predominately west to southwest facing. Slopes are moderate with an average slope less than 50%, with
numerous rock outcroppings located throughout the unit.
This unit is designated as having no limitations to the production of ungulates as winter range for deer and
elk.
Historic stand structure appears to have been a mosaic of open range and open forests dominated by large
old Py,Fd and Lw. These stands were harvested in the first harvesting pass’ to occur in this area (estimated
1920’s through 1960’s). Current cover consists of a Douglas-fir dominated open forest type with dispersed
areas of open range.Ingress and ingrowth is occurring throughout this treatment unit. There are also seral Pl
patches dispersed within the unit.
This unit is dominated by both private lands and Christmas tree permits, with only approximately 50%
available for management under the NDT4 guidelines. Due to this pattern of tenures and title there is
limited opportunity to reintroduce fire into this treatment unit. Stand structures should be maintained
through harvesting and mechanical stand tending techniques.


MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES FOR TREATMENT UNIT ONE

 Stratum       Management                   Objectives/Comments                                   Treatment Scheduling
                Objectives
    A          Open Forest   Manage to open forest conditions to maintain          Harvest to open forest standards as per NDT4
                             connectivity between open range areas and adjacent    guidelines 1998-2008
                             managed forest types.
    B          Open Range    Manage for open range attributes for winter grazing   Harvest to open range standards to maintain and/or
                             areas.                                                enlarge current openings 1998-2008.
                                                                                   Utilize mechanical means to maintain in open range
                                                                                   condition in the long term 2018+.
                                                                                   Assess SP obligations for opening 71 and amend to
                                                                                   meet open forest standards.




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TREATMENT UNIT TWO

Description:

This treatment unit is located within the IDFdm2 subzone. Topography is subdued with the majority of the
unit having less than 40% slopes. The area is designated as having only slight limitations to the production
of ungulates for winter range.
Historic forest cover appears to have varied from open forest types, in the very southern end of this unit, to
closed forest types further north. Currently the unit is a closed forest dominated by Fdi with a minor
component, in pure and mixed species stands, of Pl and Lw. The site is fully occupied, except for areas of
recent harvesting.
Extensive forest management activities have occurred over the past century , with in increased level of
harvesting occurring over the past 10 years. There are numerous silviculture prescription obligations
throughout this unit (Appendix B).



MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES FOR TREATMENT UNIT TWO

 Stratum       Management                    Objectives/Comments                                Treatment Scheduling
                Objectives
    A           Managed      Manage to full stocking standards as per NDT4       Harvest as per current Forest Development Plan
                 Forest      guidelines, with range attributes supplied during   scheduling.
                             regeneration phase.



TREATMENT UNIT THREE

Description:

This treatment unit is located along the Whitetail Brook/Lussier River corridor, within the IDFdm2
subzone. Aspects are mostly north and east, with the area to the east of Whitetail Brook being west facing.
The dominate management feature within this unit is the presence of Crestbrook Forest Industries private
lands, which are currently within “Managed Forest” status (SL 169).
Historic stand structures, outside the private lands, appear to be have been for the majority of the unit fully
stocked stands of Fdi, Lw and Py. Harvesting within this unit has occurred, at varying levels throughout
much of the past century. There are dispersed areas, located mostly on the steeper, west facing slopes, of
open forest/open range within this unit. These isolated areas should be recognized within Silviculture
Prescriptions and managed as open forest/open range. Current forest cover is dominated by a mixture of
species including Fdi,Lw and Pl with a minor component of Py.
The area is designated as having only slight to moderate limitations to the production of ungulates for
winter range.
Site productivity for timber management within this unit is medium with site index ranging form 14-17
(forest cover designation).
Extensive forest management activities, including harvesting and stand tending, have occurred over the past
century.


MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES FOR TREATMENT UNIT THREE


 Stratum       Management                    Objectives/Comments                                Treatment Scheduling
                Objectives
    A           Managed      Manage to full stocking standards as per NDT4       Harvest as per current Forest Development Plan
                 Forest      guidelines, with range attributes supplied during   scheduling.
                             regeneration phase.




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TREATMENT UNIT FOUR

Description:

This treatment unit is located above the 1200m line, outside the “NDT4”. The area is designated as having
moderate to severe limitations to the production of ungulates and has not historically been dominated by
open range and open forest.
Extensive timber harvesting has occurred throughout this unit over the past 10 years resulting in numerous
free growing obligations. Establishment and stand tending activities are ongoing throughout the unit.


MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES FOR TREATMENT UNIT FOUR

 Stratum       Management                    Objectives/Comments                                Treatment Scheduling
                Objectives
    A           Managed      Manage to full stocking standards as per NDT4       Harvest as per current Forest Development Plan
                 Forest      guidelines, with range attributes supplied during   scheduling.
                             regeneration phase.




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                                                          Long Term Scheduling Summary
Treatment   Stratum   Management    1997-2005    2006-2015    2016-2025    2026-2035        2036-2045    2046-2055    2056-2065    2066-2075    2076-2085    2086-2095    2096-2105
   Unit                Objective
    1         A       Open Forest    Harvest/     Harvest/       No           No               No         Harvest/       No           No           No         Harvest/       No
                                      Stand        Stand      Treatment    Treatment        Treatment      Stand      Treatment    Treatment    Treatment      Stand      Treatment
                                     Tending      Tending                                                 Tending                                             Tending
              B       Open Range     Harvest/     Harvest/       No           No               No         Harvest/       No           No           No         Harvest/       No
                                      Stand        Stand      Treatment    Treatment        Treatment      Stand      Treatment    Treatment    Treatment      Stand      Treatment
                                     Tending      Tending                                                 Tending                                             Tending
   2          A        Managed      Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as       Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as
                        Forest      per FDP *     per FDP      per FDP      per FDP          per FDP      per FDP      per FDP      per FDP      per FDP      per FDP      per FDP
   3          A        Managed      Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as       Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as
                        Forest       per FDP      per FDP      per FDP      per FDP          per FDP      per FDP      per FDP      per FDP      per FDP      per FDP      per FDP
   4          A        Managed      Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as       Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as   Harvest as
                        Forest       per FDP      per FDP      per FDP      per FDP          per FDP      per FDP      per FDP      per FDP      per FDP      per FDP      per FDP

* FDP= Forest Development Planning Process




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                  Appendix A

         Existing Christmas Tree Permits




C00123

C00124

C00163




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                     Appendix B

Existing Silviculture Prescription Obligation Openings


Treatment   Management         Mapsheet     Opening
   Unit      Objectives
    1       Open Forest/        82J012         71
            Open Range
    2         Managed           82J012         60
               Forest
                                               66
                                               67
                                               68
                                               72
    3         Managed           82J012         18?
               Forest
                                               19?
                                               28?
                                               26
                                               63
                                               64
                                               65
                                82J022         58
                                               60
    4         Managed           82J012         58
               Forest
              Outside                          59
               NDT4
                                               62
                                               74
                                               75
                                               76




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