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The mountain hemlock zone of British Columbia. Klinka, Karel; Chourmouzis, Christine 2001

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The Mountain Hemlock Zone of British ColumbiaSummaryThis report  descfribes in  some detail both non-forested andforested ecfosystems of the Mountain Hemlocfk (MH) zone ofBritish Columbia. It is one of 14 tecfhnicfal reports intended toprovide a cfomprehensive acfcfount of biogeocflimaticf ecfosystemcflassificfation (BEC) as well as some management implicfationsfor eacfh zone in the provincfe. These 14 zonal reports shouldfill  the  gap between the  general descfription given in"Ecfosystems of British Columbia" and the information on siteidentificfation and interpretation given in regional field guidesand other researcfh reports.We  present the  vegetation, zonal, and site  cflassificfationdeveloped from the data gathered over the past 20 years bythe  Ecfologicfal Program Staff of the  BC Forest Servicfethroughout the whole range of the MH zone. In addition tocflassificfation, we incfluded  measures of plant diversity andsimilarity  for  delineated units and information  from  recfentpublished and unpublished studies on forest dynamicfs, soilnutrient availability,  regeneration,  producftivity,  anddendrocfhronology cfarried out in the MH zone. Although thisreport  cfontains new data and information,  we cfonsider ourunderstanding of cfoastal subalpine  ecfosystems to  beScientia Silvica Extension Series, Number 28, 2001incfomplete, as there are yet many questions for whicfh thereare only specfulative answers.We  cfombined, analyzed, synthesized,  and interpreted  allavailable data on non-forested and forested cfoastal subalpineecfosystems that were obtained using the standard methods ofsampling  and analysis. The resulting  cflassificfation thusintegrates  several  locfal cflassificfations.  Following a briefdescfription of methodology,  we give an acfcfount of theenvironment of the  MH zone. The pivotal secftions presentzonal, vegetation, and site  cflassificfation. Eacfh of  the  threecflassificfations features  a synopsis,  diagnosticf tables  anddescfription of delineated units. The following secftions dealwith vegetation-environment relationships and silvicfulturalimplicfations.We anticfipate that this and subsequent reports (i) will providean  adequate  and  up-to-date  acfcfount  on  ecfosystemcflassificfation acfcfording to the BEC system and (ii) will be usedas tools for further systematicf ecfosystem studies, ecfosystemmapping, and implementation  of ecfosystem-specfificfmanagement.1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................................................................................1 2 REGIONAL DESCRIPTION 2.1 LOCATION AND DISTRIBUTION ..................................................................................................................................3 2.2 CLIMATE  ........................................................................................................................................................................4 2.3 PHYSIOGRAPHY AND SURFICIAL MATERIALS  ........................................................................................................5 2.4 SOILS AND HUMUS FORMS ........................................................................................................................................6 2.5 VEGETATION  ................................................................................................................................................................6 2.6 WILDLIFE  .......................................................................................................................................................................8 2.7 LAND USE ......................................................................................................................................................................9 3 ECOSYSTEM CLASSIFICATION 3.1 CONCEPTS AND METHODS  .....................................................................................................................................11 Concepts of Ecosystem Classification ....................................................................................................................11 Ecosystem Sampling ...............................................................................................................................................12 Vegetation Classification .........................................................................................................................................12 Similarity and Spectral Analysis ..............................................................................................................................14 Zonal (Climatic) Classification .................................................................................................................................15 Site Classification ....................................................................................................................................................15 3.2 ZONAL CLASSIFICATION .........................................................................................................................................17 Coastal Biogeoclimatic Zone ...................................................................................................................................17 Subzones and Variants of the Mountain Hemlock Zone  ........................................................................................20 Zonation and Climatic Localisms  ............................................................................................................................29 3.3 VEGETATION CLASSIFICATION ..............................................................................................................................33 Non-Forested Ecosystems ......................................................................................................................................33 Forested Ecosystems ..............................................................................................................................................41 3.4 SITE CLASSIFICATION .............................................................................................................................................53 Parkland MH Subzones  ..........................................................................................................................................54 Forested MH Subzones  ..........................................................................................................................................59  Table of ContentsOrdering InformationThis report is available in full cfolour or blacfk-and-whiteprinted versions or in elecftronicf format on the ScientiaSilvica . This report will also be summarized on theBC Ministry of  Forests,  BEC Zones web site(www.for.gov.bcf.cfa/researcfh/becfweb/zoneinfo/zones).Ordering  information is available on www.forestry.ubcf.cfa/klinka or from Karel Klinka (klinka@intercfhange.ubcf.cfa)ReferenceK. Klinka and C. Chourmouzis. 2000. The Mountain HemlockZone of British Columbia. Forest Sciences Department,University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.Scientia Silvica  is published by tfhe Forestf Sciences Departfmentf,The Universitfy of Britfish Columbia, ISSN 1209-952XEditor: Karel Klinka (klinka@intferchange.ubc.ca)Productionf anfd designf: Christfine Chourmouzis (chourmou@intferchange.ubc.ca)Finfanfcial support: Research Branch, BC Ministfry of ForestfsFor more infformationf conftact: Karel KlinkaCopies available from: www.forestfry.ubc.ca/klinka, or K.Klinka,Forestf Sciences Departfmentf, UBC,3036-2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z43.5 DESCRIPTION OF THE SITE UNITS ........................................................................................................................69 Site Units of the Parkland MH Subzones ................................................................................................................69 Rhizocarpon (A) site group ............................................................................................................................69 Phlox (B) site group  .......................................................................................................................................71 HmYc ? Rhacomitrium (C) site association ...................................................................................................72 HmBa ? Mountain-heather (D) site association .............................................................................................73 HmBl ? Mountain-heather (E) site association ..............................................................................................74 Hm ? Mountain-heather (F) site association  .................................................................................................75 Hm ? Crowberry (G) site association .............................................................................................................76 Mountain-heather (H) site group ....................................................................................................................77 Valerian (I) site group .....................................................................................................................................78 Sitka Alder (J) site group  ...............................................................................................................................79 Swamp Moss (K) site group ...........................................................................................................................80 Showy Sedge (L) site group  ..........................................................................................................................81 Marsupella (M) site group ..............................................................................................................................82 Several-flowered Sedge (N) site group  .........................................................................................................83 Cotton-grass (O) site group  ...........................................................................................................................84 Alpine Sedge (P) site group ...........................................................................................................................85 Site Units of the Forested Mountain Hemlock Subzones  .......................................................................................86 HmYc ? Rhacomitrium (C) site association ...................................................................................................86 Hm ? Mountain-heather (F) site association  .................................................................................................86 HmBa ? Mountain-heather (D) site association .............................................................................................86 HmBl ? Mountain-heather (E) site association ..............................................................................................86 Hm ? Copperbush (1) site association  ..........................................................................................................87 HmBa ? Blueberry (2) site association  ..........................................................................................................88 HmBa ? Moist Blueberry (2) site association  ................................................................................................89 Hm ? Crowberry (G) site association .............................................................................................................90 HmSs ? Blueberry (4) site association  ..........................................................................................................90 HmYc ? Deer-cabbage (5) site association ...................................................................................................92 Hm ? Sphagnum (6) site association .............................................................................................................93 HmBa ? Foamflower (7) site association .......................................................................................................94 HmBl ? Valerian (8) site association ..............................................................................................................95 HmSs ? Reedgrass (9) site association  ........................................................................................................96 HmYc ? Twistedstalk (10) site association ....................................................................................................97 HmBa ? Lady fern (11) site association .........................................................................................................98 HmBl ? Lady fern (12) site association ..........................................................................................................99 HmYc ? Marsh-marigold (13) site association .............................................................................................100 HmYc ? Skunk cabbage (14) site association .............................................................................................101 4 VEGETATION-ENVIRONMENT RELATIONSHIPS 4.1 STAND STRUCTURE AND FOREST DYNAMICS  .................................................................................................103 4.2 THE INFLUENCE OF SNOW ...................................................................................................................................110 4.3 REGENERATION PATTERNS  ................................................................................................................................114 4.4 FOREST PRODUCTIVITY .......................................................................................................................................117 4.5 HEIGHT GROWTH AND SITE INDEX MODELS FOR PACIFIC SILVER FIR  .......................................................119 4.6 SOIL NUTRIENT REGIME .......................................................................................................................................126 4.7 FOREST PRODUCTIVITY - SITE RELATIONSHIPS ..............................................................................................130 4.8 RESPONSES OF TREE-RINGS OF PACIFIC SILVER FIR TO CLIMATIC VARIATIONS  ....................................134 5 RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND SILVICULTURAL IMPLICATIONS 5.1 INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................................................................................137 5.2 MANAGEMENT AND OPERATIONAL BACKGROUND  .........................................................................................138 5.3 THE DECISION TO HARVEST OR NOT TO HARVEST  ........................................................................................140 5.4 THE IMPACT OF CUTTING ON TIMBER AND NON-TIMBER RESOURCES  ......................................................143 5.5 STANDS PROPOSED TO BE EXCLUDED FROM HARVESTING  ........................................................................144 5.6 TREE SPECIES OPTIONS ......................................................................................................................................153 5.7 REPRODUCTION CUTTING OPTIONS ..................................................................................................................162 5.8 REGENERATION ON DISTURBED SITES .............................................................................................................167 5.9 NATURAL REGENERATION AFTER CLEARCUTTING: A CASE STUDY ............................................................174 5.10 SUMMARY OF MANAGEMENT ISSUES AND RESEARCH NEEDS  ..................................................................176 6 REFERENCES.......................................................................................................................................................................179 G3

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