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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The classification and interpretation of hardwood ecosystems on the Quinsam Flats, Elk River Tree Farm Bernardy, Pavel


The vegetation and soils of hardwood ecosystems in the Elk River Tree Farm, near Campbell River, British Columbia, were sampled and analysed, and the ecosystems classified into a hierarchy of vegetation and site units, using the methods of biogeoclimatic ecosystem classification (BEC). Four plant and four site associations were distinguished. Site units were used as a categorical framework for selection of suitable site preparation method, tree species, and planting microsites. A key was developed to assist Fletcher Challenge Canada Ltd. foresters in site identification and regeneration of hardwood forests on a site-specific basis. A pattern of site units in the study area is demonstrated in the form of a 1:5000 map for a selected, 50 ha-segment of a hardwood forest. It is suggested that the hardwood ecosystems have developed and persisted in response to a seasonally fluctuating water table which can be attributed to poor drainage as a function of fine soil texture, flat topography, and winter-high and summer-low precipitation. The soil water table is very high in the winter but absent or very low in the summer. As a result, the rooting zone in the winter is under the influence of poorly oxygenated water. Such a soil moisture regime is not favourable for the growth of Douglas-fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco]. This study makes recommendations for the management of hardwood ecosystems on a site-specific basis.

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