Friday, 10 February 2017

Issues in the Forest

Landscape Management, Wildlife Habitat and Biodiversity

Something new in forest management?

No way!

This is from "Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual" prepared under the authority of the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, February 20, 1995. Ministry of Natural Resources for Ontario.

Over a decade before Victoria's Secret turned her models loose with chainsaws - in a most derogatory put-down of our forest workers and managers - this is really what was planned for our forests.

page 30 " Considerable work has been done on this subject (Landscape Management, Wildlife Habitat and Biodiversity), resulting in the recommendation of an ecosystem approach to wildlife habitat management rather than a species - by - species approach."

"The featured-species approach to habitat management is being changed to one which strives more explicitly to conserve biodiversity with methods derived from landscape provide the vegetative mosaic required by all species in the forest."

"This approach will seek to ensure that wildlife habitat requirements of a broad range of species will be met over the long term across large areas... It will not eliminate the need for site-specific prescriptions and critical habitat elements for some species."

In 1996 the Timber Management Guidelines for the Provision of Pine Martin Habitat were completed.

"The provision of martin habitat has potential to provide habitat for other species that depend on mature and over-mature coniferous forests."

"At the forest level the pine martin guidelines suggest maintaining a minimum proportion of each conifer-dominated forest unit in older post-rotation age classes and those older forest conditions are to be maintained in patches of a minimum size.( Rotation = the planned number of years between the regeneration of a stand and its final cutting at maturity.) These areas would ideally be located beside areas of intermediate-aged stands to create "core habitat areas." Wherever possible, core habitat areas would be connected to each other by riparian reserves or unmerchantable areas etc."

"At the stand level, the guidelines speak to the retention of course woody debris (large downed trees) and snags (standing dead or dying trees) as well as live green trees which are expected to become snags later."

Resource Manuals also exist for : Bats 1984; and Woodland Caribou 1996; Furbearer Habitat etc.

By 2014 we will be seeing an Eastern Cougar Habitat Guideline...I kid you not.

Starting in about 2001 the Environment groups tried to stop all logging in Ontario because we were destroying birdnests.(Previous posts – in Blog … have gone over that issue) So, let’s see what the Forest Managers were doing way before that.

The Timber Management Guidelines for the Provision of Pileated Woodpecker Habitat , completed 1996.

Forest Level:

"The pileated woodpecker feeds and breeds in a range of forest conditions, but shows a preference for the mature and over-mature stages of forests dominated by tolerant hardwoods and pine."

Stand Level:

The pileated woodpecker requires dead and dying trees and downed woody debris for feeding, nesting and roosting."

Problem # 1 The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires operators to fell standing dead trees.

Problem # 2 Dying trees are removed preferentially in partial cutting systems.


"To address these concerns, current MNR guidelines require that living cavity trees be kept to provide habitat for primary and secondary cavity users in the tolerant hardwood and pine forests of Central Ontario. (They describe the number and dispersion and characteristics of trees to retain.)"

"Since living cavity trees may not meet all the habitat needs of the pileated woodpecker, MNR will continue to work with the Ministry of Labour to find methods to keep dead standing trees without compromising the safety of woods workers."

Resource Manuals also exist for: Osprey 1983; Forest nesting Accipiters, Buteos and Eagles 1984; Cavity nesting birds 1984; Protection of Heronries 1984; Warblers 1984; Birds of Wetlands 1985; Bald Eagle 1987; Golden Eagle 1987; Peregrine Falcon 1987; Waterfowl; Hawk Guide 1991.

Since that time these may have been upgraded and some amalgamated but I wanted to list them here , in their individual state to show that our loggers and pulp cutters weren't just going out and attacking and slaying and destroying the boreal forest and all the creatures that live there. Even the plants -

"Consideration is being given to providing direction on plant management such as protecting the habitat for uncommon species. For forest operations where ginseng is known to exist prescriptions include maintaining dense crown closure around intermittent streams and seeps, limiting the seasons of operation and minimizing the number of points at which streams and seeps are crossed."

B.Brill essay

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