Category Archives: Forest Management

Black Spruce Seeds are Sown

Row upon row of styroblocks are filled with black spruce seeds at the Enhanced Forestry Lab at UNBC.

Last year it was western red cedar, this year it’s black spruce. This week staff at  UNBC’s IK Barber Enhanced Forestry Lab, sowed over 2000 black spruce seeds for ALRF. When they are ready in 3 months,  the seedlings will be planted on  wet soils  within Block 22 this spring as a demonstration site for species diversity. Stay tuned as we post updates on the seedlings as they  grow in the greenhouse!

An Alien Invasion

This clump of marsh plume thistle was found at the Research Forest along the South Knolls Trail. It has appeared within the last 12 months and currently measures more than 180cm tall.

Marsh plume thistle (Cirsium palustre), listed as a noxious weed in BC’s Central Interior by the Invasive Plant Council of BC,  is  showing it’s  presence in ALRF’s harvest areas. The plant grows in moist locations and competes with native plants and crop trees. A containment program for this purple-flowered plant is currently underway in the Central Interior aimed at preventing  its expansion. According to the IPCBC  the most effective way to  limit the spread of the species is  by  cutting the plants  down before they go to seed. Other methods such  as biological controls and herbicides are in development.

Last summer, several harvest areas on the Research Forest were surveyed for invasive plants and several  species were found in varying quantities. This provides excellent baseline information to help ALRF monitor increases and decreases in the diversity and abundance of invasive plants and to  implement  strategies for managing them.

Larch Seedlings Planted

 
UNBC Greenhouse Curator, John Orlowsky, lifts and wraps larch seedling in preparation for transport to the field.
UNBC Greenhouse Curator, John Orlowsky, prepares seedlings for transport.

The larch seedlings, sown in December, are now happily in the ground at Aleza Lake Research Forest where they can be observed and measured for many years to come.

The process started with watering the seedlings  throughly and carfeully pulling them out of the styroblocks (“hot” lifted, meaning  they were not forced into dormancy through refrigeration), bundling and wrapping them  in clear plastic. After culling out some of the dead and weaker trees, a little more than 2400  seedlings were prepared for planting.

Because this is an experimental trial, the trees were planted at high density (2000 stems per hectare) mostly to mitigate any loss from mortality, but also to produce tall straight stems. The seed came from the West Kootenays of British Columbia, so it is expected that the trees  will be reasonably tolerant of the ALRF climate and snowpack.

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