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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Forest crowns, snow interception and management of black-tailed deer winter habitat McNay, Robert Scott


The phenomenon of snow interception by forest stands is examined. Interception relationships extracted from literature are evaluated for their applicability to the silvicultural and climatic conditions of south coastal British Columbia. Hypotheses tested address: 1) the prediction of snow interception, 2) comparisons of heterogeneity in snow interception between second-growth and old-growth forests, and 3) how interception and interception efficiency vary depending on forest crown completeness and storm size. General relationships regarding snow interception under continental conditions were found to hold in coastal conditions', but relationships between crown completeness and interception were weak. Storm size and melt are identified as confounding factors in making predictions about snow interception based on stand crown completeness. Several approaches to modelling snow interception are discussed. Particular reference is made to the effect of interception on energetic costs of locomotion for deer. Management of coastal forests for the interception of snow should focus on maximizing crown completeness and crown surface area. Further research is required concerning the relationships used in the simulation models. Emphasis should be placed on deer response to snowpacks, the influence of melt on snowpack development, and the influence of canopy closure on spatial distribution of snowpacks.

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