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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The impacts of hydro-dams on forestry in southeastern British Columbia Szaraz, Gerard


The purpose of this study is to provide a description of the repercussions of hydro-dam development upon forestry in southeastern British Columbia. This study develops a systems viewpoint, where selected indicators - timber supply, access and transportation, forest land value, and reservoir clearing - are examined to help place land allocation decisions within a comprehensive framework. First, a timber supply model is developed, in which forest land withdrawal to hydro-dams is scrutinized. The model is then expanded to account for timber supply and demand relationships. Findings reveal that approximately 50,000 hectares of better than average sites were withdrawn from forest land, accounting for a reduction in timber supply of approximately 180,000 cubic meters annually. Second, changes in accessibility and transportation patterns due to hydro-dam projects are identified in terms of timber supply disruption, and strategies followed to re-establish forestry. Mica and Revelstoke dams are examined to show the importance of allocating economic resources to forestry for the maintenance of the activity. Third, forest land is evaluated in following the four methodological steps: (1) outline of a benefit-cost analysis framework, (2) definition of a general approach to evaluation, (3) description of B.C. Hydro's assessment, and (4) recommendations for improvement. The case of the Revelstoke Dam is examined, and it is concluded that resource development scenarios must take into consideration timber supply and demand factors. Fourth, reservoir clearing is described to outline an important aspect of short-term impact, and to express the way by which the Forest Service, B.C. Hydro and forest companies co-ordinated their efforts during this transition phase. The study concludes by suggesting that the impacts may be alleviated by initiating intensive forest management in areas affected by hydro-dam projects. The design of an effective system of timber allocation may also permit maintenance, and possible improvement, of accessibility and transportation patterns. However, the success of these actions depends upon the availability of sufficient funding. Finally, within a broader perspective, it is recommended that integrated resource management, as a control mechanism for land allocation and management, be adopted.

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