Feasibility of an ecosystem-based management in an eastern Canadian boreal forest : testing for ecological suitability, economic viability, social acceptability and adaptability to wildfire and climate change

Authors: Dhital, Narayan Prasad
Advisor: Raulier, FrédéricBernier, Pierre
Abstract: In the quest of implementing an ecosystem-based management (EBM) in a boreal forest in eastern Canada, we conducted a feasibility study focusing on ecological suitability, economic viability and social acceptability. Through timber supply models, we compared the outputs of EBM with a business as usual (BAU) management to determine former’s robustness and adaptability to the increase in wildfire and growth anomalies induced by climate changes. Timber supply analyses use yield models, most often at the stand-level to project harvestable volume over the planning horizon. Since EBM tend to delay harvesting age, the question may be raised on to what extent existing yield tables can be used with such strategies. When a yield table is rated against a tree-level model, we show that although the tree-level model is less biased, none of the models performed adequately to predict the volume growth of our study area, especially when subdividing the data by attributes that may have an important role while implementing EBM. For both models, the major source of error was related to stand density. Due to its relative simplicity, we chose stand-level yield tables to build our timber supply models. We then carried out a feasibility study of implementing an EBM strategy in a boreal forest in eastern Canada. With standard linear programming, we tested four policy issues; age structure, harvest agglomeration; limit of cumulative disturbance, and land base of aboriginal interest. These issues were dealt with 3% – 22% reduction in periodic wood supply and a transition period of 50 years where clear-cut needs to be excluded in 43% – 67% of the productive area. Validation of the outputs through habitat requirement of woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) as a fine filter showed that most of the scenarios should likely allow a self-sustaining caribou population within next 25-years. Finally, we integrated climate sensitive fire burn rates and yield tables in the timber supply models to quantify the uncertainty induced by climate and fire under both management strategies. Both models responded with a reduction of periodic wood supply by 13% – 79%. Although ecological indicators are relatively better under EBM, merely switching the management strategy is not enough to address the impacts of fire and climate change in the boreal forests. Key words: Boreal forest, ecosystem-based management, growth and yield, feasibility, adaptation, wildfire, climate change
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2013
Open Access Date: 19 April 2018
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/24456
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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