The effectiveness of free-growing lodgepole pine plantations in British Columbia Ken, Jennifer
Free-growing, by its definition covers a limited time frame of a stands life. As the concept provides a significant milestone within stand management, debates arise regarding whether this target is an adequate method to evaluate silvicultural success (Martin, 2012). Forestry experts and the Government have conducted surveys around this debate. Currently, there is a widespread mortality of planted trees in plantations deemed to be free growing throughout British Columbia. Due to the current mortality trends of BC’s free growing stands, it is crucial to re-examine the validity of this concept. Statistics have shown that the overwhelmingly favored species is lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) as this specie favors open and light abundant environments such as recently logged areas. When plantations are largely homogenous in species, they are very vulnerable to species specific attacks and diseases. However, there is a knowledge gap from the assessment conducted at free-growing declaration to final harvest. Stand development monitoring needs to be mandated to ensure BC’s future timber supply. By examining the current free-growing status requirements and free-growing stands in the province it is hopeful that we can avoid another epidemic such as the mountain pine beetle for reforested lodgepole pine stands.
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