UBC Undergraduate Research

Designing cutblocks to minimize the negative effects of windthrow Niddrie, Nicholas J.


The effects of windthrow on harvested areas in coastal British Columbia have the potential to increase fuel loading, bark beetle habitat, and loss of valuable timber as well as decrease soil stability. The most susceptible trees are found at freshly exposed forest edges. The areas affected are commonly salvaged. Salvaging in reserve zones must be minimized to reduce negative affects of removing large woody debris from ecosystems. There are a number of strategies that can be implemented by forest professionals to minimize the windthrow hazard of forest edges. These include cutblock shape and orientation relative to endemic winds, and locating boundaries where soil and stand characteristics promote stability, and topographical features reduce wind loading. If necessary, windfirming treatments can be used to further reduce the windthrow hazard to acceptable levels. Resources used to increase success of managing windthrow include a range of mapping tools and computer modelling programs that are designed to predict the probability of lethal damage and areas of high hazard. Further research of both mechanistic and empirical modelling is needed for more precise site level predictions as well as implementing a provincial windthrow monitoring program. Both of which could be used to create more successful windthrow management strategies. By recognizing signs that indicate windthrow will compromise management objectives, site-specific strategies can be designed and implemented to reduce this hazard.

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