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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Plant community response to post-wildfire management activities in interior Douglas-fir forests of southern BC Black, Scott T.


Post-wildfire disturbances such as salvage logging and seeding of agronomic species occur over large parts of the forested land base in British Columbia. However, there is surprisingly little research on the effects of these management practices on plant community composition and species diversity. The future of plant and animal biodiversity will depend increasingly on regional floras surviving in highly managed and disturbed environments. I examined vascular and nonvascular plant community responses four years after wildfire and post-wildfire management practices in interior Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca) forests following two separate 2003 wildfires near Kamloops, BC, Canada. Wildfire sites with all combinations of seeding and salvage logging disturbance were selected in similar post-wildfire environments. Analysis at the plot (400m², n=104) and stand (400-1200m², n=42) scales suggested that post-wildfire disturbance had a significant negative effect on native species richness and reduced the frequency of some shrub and shade tolerance species including Ceanothus sanguineus and Prosartes hookeri. As well, multivariate analysis showed evidence for altered post-wildfire community composition and structure mainly due to increased dominance of exotic and graminoid species. These negative effects were most apparent in wildfire sites that were both seeded and salvaged-logged. Sustainable forest management requires a thorough understanding of the cumulative impacts of post-wildfire management practices on understory vegetation and ecosystem processes. The results of this study can aid resource managers by helping them incorporate the effects of natural and anthropogenic disturbance into future post-wildfire management activities.

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