Forest Management

Stumpage and tenure issues affecting Wildland Urban Interface fuel treatments in British Columbia

By Thomas Hobby

Rural British Columbia communities are increasingly threatened by catastrophic wildfires and annual fire suppression costs within British Columbia have been above average when compared against previous decades. To reduce these threats, many local and regional governments have developed community wildfire protection plans (CWPPs) and operational fuel treatments. CWPPs and fuel treatment are critical steps for effectively reducing hazardous fuel and once implemented can reduce fire suppression and othermarket and non-market costs. Within British Columbia, there are approximately 1.65 million hectares of high and moderate fuel hazards within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) that need fuel treatments and over the 2004-2011 period, 43,000 hectares of land have been treated (approx. 2.5% of total WUI). WUI is defined as an area where human development meets or is intermingled with forest and grassland fuel types (Forest Practices Board 2010). Fuel hazard reduction projects have been implemented by community groups via logging for saw-logs, pulp, and more recently, pellet and bioenergy production, in an attempt to meet fuel treatment objectives.

Other methods such as mastication, hand slashing, piling, and burning have also been fuel treatment methods used. Treatment costs across British Columbia vary widely and depend upon factors such as the quality of the fibre, stems per hectare, mean diameters, and other factors. Regardless of cost, most fuel treatment work to date has required subsidies to reach the intended objectives.

Guest Editorial: Variegated NTFP Resource Deserves Creative Management

By Bruce Fraser

Bringing non-timber forest products (NTFPs) into the mainstream forest management and the provincial economy is a challenge of major proportions. Many of the factors that affect harvesting, marketing, and maintenance of NTFP crops—a subset of non-timber forest resources (NTFRs)—are hidden in unrecorded traditional uses by First Nations, in the informal and underground economy of subsistence harvesters, in recreational pursuits, and in scientific obscurity. What evidence we have for the value to society of NTFPs is often so lightly documented that it is difficult to make a case for attention amid the clamour arising from traditional resource industries. Making room in our forest management for poorly documented resources that exhibit cultural, economic, ecological, and management complexity demands a high level of effort. Complexity is not, however, a reason to ignore the great potential of treating our forest land as a richly variegated resource that will benefit from an equally variegated approach to management.

A Black Huckleberry Case Study in the Kootenays Region of British Columbia

By Tom Hobby, Michael Keefer


This case study explores the commercial development of black huckleberries (Vaccinium membranaceum Dougl.) in the Kootenay region of British Columbia. Black huckleberries have a long history of human and wildlife use, and there are increasing demands on the resource in the region. Conflicts between commercial, traditional, and recreational users have emerged over expanding the harvest of this non-timber forest product (NTFP). This case study explores the potential for expanding huckleberry commercialization by examining the potential management and policy options that would support a sustainable commercial harvest. The article also reviews trends and issues within the huckleberry sector and ecological research currently conducted within the region.

View article

Commercial Development Morels in the East Kootenay, British Columbia

By Michael Keefer, Richard Winder, Tom Hobby
The study builds on fieldwork done in the East Kootenay region of British Columbia (B.C.) on the habitat and productivity of the morel mushroom. In particular the study collects what is known and what is yet to be understood about the relationship of forest fires to the production of morels. It explores some of the difficulties of commercializing the morel harvest, when the locations and quantities of morel production are inconsistent from year to year and are dependent on normally unpredictable forest events such as fire and insect attack. On the basis of current information the authors examine the benefits of including morel production as a consideration in the planning of forest management strategies. They also point to key areas of additional morel research that could be useful in supporting a regular healthy commercial harvest.

Commercial Development of Salal on South Vancouver Island

By Tom Hobby, Kari Dows, Sara MacKenzie
Salal is a prolific shrub found throughout coastal British Columbia and has been used for centuries by First Nations. Salal berries were used as food, in fresh and dried form, both for subsistence and as trade goods. Although the berries are still harvested by First Nations and others, today the shrub is mainly used as floral greenery. The purpose of this extension note is to summarize the results of a case study conducted in 2005 to describe major elements of the salal industry on southern Vancouver Island, particularly those factors that have contributed to its development as a significant commercial sector, and to address issues that may affect the long-term economic viability of this important non-timber forest product. An estimated 657 726 ha of suitable salal habitat occurs within the South Island Forest District, with an estimated 414 338 ha of habitat located within 1 km of accessible roads. Estimates of the value of annual salal production within the South Island Forest District range between $6 and $10 million dollars annually and experienced salal harvesters can potentially earn competitive wages with other occupations requiring similar levels of skill and knowledge. Many opportunities exist for compatible management between salal and timber production, some of which may increase revenues and (or) reduce timber production costs to the landowner. Results of this case study—and research from other areas where the salal industry is well established—suggest that new management strategies may be required to maximize potential benefits of the industry, promote compatible management, and address issues affecting financial viability, livelihood security, and resource conservation in the salal sector.

Chanterelle Mushrooms on Vancouver Island, British Columbia

By Tyson Ehlers, Tom Hobby

This paper presents a synthesis of an original case study that investigated the social, economic, and ecological characteristics of the Pacific golden chanterelle (Cantharellus formosus) harvest in British Columbia, with an emphasis on northern Vancouver Island. It draws on the experience of wild mushroom harvesters and buyers, current forest mycological research, and global trade data. The wild mushroom resource contributes directly to rural economies and is part of the natural capital of the region. Wage expectations are generally low, but many people pick mushrooms for personal use and recreation, regardless of profit. Sustainability of chanterelle harvests is tied to forest management practices; the absence of any regulatory or policy framework for addressing the management requirements for chanterelles creates uncertainty about future supplies. Shorter timber harvest rotations are implicated in the loss of habitat and harvesting opportunities; however, there is reason to believe that timber and chanterelles can be managed compatibly, albeit with some tradeoffs. Available inventory information can be used to identify the best habitats that should be managed on longer rotations. Alternatively, compatible management strategies could include green-tree retention focussed on the best chanterelle habitat; commercial thinning that maintains a sufficient density of chanterelle host trees, and manipulating younger stands to enhance production at an earlier age. Global trade data indicate a slight decline in the value of the Canadian chanterelle harvest in recent years; however, the industry is relatively young and characterized by fluctuations in production and markets, and there is reason to be optimistic for the future of the industry on Vancouver Island.