Friday, February 22, 2013

Provincial Government Standards, Criteria, and Indicators for Sustainable Harvest of Forest Biomass in British Columbia: Soil and Biodiversity

Article published as a result of the cooperation between the Journal of Forest Energy and the International Journal of Forest Engineering.

International Journal of Forest Engineering Volume 23, Number 1 (2012)

by Shannon M. Berch, Chuck Bulmer, Mike Curran, Maija Finvers, Brian Titus


Sustainable forest management (SFM) is a cornerstone of forest management, whether the resulting forest products are destined for the manufacturing sector or for the emerging bioenergy feedstock market. In British Columbia, research on the environmental effects of forest management has generated scientific knowledge that has informed two linked areas of government responsibility: 1) a comprehensive set of science-based regulations and policies to ensure soil and water conservation, and 2) a monitoring program to ensure the effectiveness of these regulations and policies.
An increasing amount of biomass is being harvested from British Columbia’s forests as a feedstock for bioenergy, and these removals have the potential to incrementally increase machine traffic and organic matter removals from forest sites, compared to harvesting operations focused solely on roundwood for timber or pulp. To the extent that existing standards support SFM, they may be sufficient for ensuring that biomass harvesting is also sustainable. Regardless of the new challenges created by intensive harvesting practices, the principles of soil and biodiversity conservation remain the same. The current framework for BC’s SFM policy is reviewed to examine whether it addresses the major sustainability issues that are likely to arise in the province if intensive biomass harvesting becomes more prevalent. We conclude that intensification of biomass removals will require us to keep focused on stand and landscape sensitivity to coarse woody debris removals and biodiversity requirements, nutrient removals, and cumulative soil disturbance.

You can find the full article from HERE

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