UBC Research Data
Rose Swanson Mountain, British Columbia - A Forest Health Assessment Butt, Andrew
Rose Swanson Mountain is an ecologically and culturally important forested region in the Northern Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada. In the summer of 2021, BC Timber Sales proposed eleven clear cut blocks on this area. Clear cut logging is a common practice in British Columbia, and while many studies have focused on recovery within the harvested areas, little research has analyzed the effects on the surrounding forest. Additionally, without localized scientific analysis, it is difficult for rural communities to preserve valued recreational areas on Crown land from logging. The goal of this study was to explore the trend in forest health and assess the effects of clear-cut harvesting on the immediately surrounding forest over time using freely available data and methods of analysis in order to empower rural communities to engage in their own assessments of local forests. Using Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Green Chlorophyll Index (GCI) calculated from Landsat scenes of the area from 1985 to 2020, forest stress was calculated based on changes in these indices. There was found to be no significant trend in the vegetation indices over the 36 years measured. With a maximum NDVI value of 0.49 calculated, other important disturbance factors may be at play, such as pest infestation or changing climate. Preliminary analysis found significantly higher NDVI values within 30m of a cut block as compared to 120m away. However, future research and quality assessments are needed to confirm this result. Providing a baseline analysis, this study can help the Friends of Rose Swanson Ecosystem Stewardship Society (FORSES) and local community members start to work with geospatial data in ways that allow them to maintain and enhance the values of Rose Swanson Mountain.
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