Using Partial-cut Harvesting to Conserve Terrestrial Lichens in Managed Landscapes

Posted on Jul 14, 2015

Author

Darwyn S. Coxson

Correspondence: Darwyn S. Coxson, Ecosystem Science and Management Program, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, British Columbia, V2N 4Z9, Canada. Email: darwyn.coxson@unbc.ca

Submitted 7 April 2015 – Accepted 14 July 2015


Abstract

The development of terrestrial lichen communities used as forage by woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus) in boreal and subboreal forests is strongly linked to changes in canopy structure and associated changes in canopy microclimate that occur during stand succession. Additionally, substrate type and proximity to propagule sources can have a major inluence on lichen establishment. Increasingly, the development of lichen communities now occurs within managed landscapes where the scale and intensity of disturbance events can be very diferent from those that historically shaped lichen community development. Nonetheless, our knowledge of factors that previously mediated the establishment and development of lichen communities may provide important clues to understanding the success of terrestrial lichens in managed landscapes, and help guide forest managers in designing practices that promote conservation of woodland caribou habitat. Evidence from recent harvesting trials suggests that partial-cut harvesting may be a silvicultural system that can provide forest managers with tools for conserving terrestrial forage lichens in caribou winter range. Best practices and limitations on the use of partial-cut harvesting techniques to conserve terrestrial lichen communities are reviewed, including a consideration of secondary impacts on caribou from factors such as the construction of forestry access roads and disposal of logging debris and slash.

Key Words: Caribou Management, Cladina, Cladonia, Partial-cut Harvesting, Stereocaulun.

 

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