Taking another look at that logging debris

The piled windrows of branches, twigs and tops provide a home for small mammals

Windrows can offer valuable habitat to small animals

Cam Fortems – Kamloops This Week

To a hiker or hunter, the row of logging debris lined across a clearcut looks like a mess left on the forest floor, waiting for a match and the right weather.

But a University of B.C. scientist told a gathering of foresters in Kamloops Tuesday the piled windrows of branches, twigs and tops provide a home for small mammals — in some cases more attractive habitat than the uncut forest itself.

“There’s a whole range of species that will disappear from a clearcut,” warned Tom Sullivan, a professor in forest science. “They’re gone for decades or centuries.”

Sullivan was part of a panel looking at alternatives to the longstanding practice of scraping up, piling and burning debris left over by logging operations. Alternatives to the practice — which a recent study found contributed to poor air quality in Kamloops in November (when so-called slash piles are burned) — include utilizing it to create power, heat, pellets or even to produce industrial chemicals.

“A whole bunch of that stuff doesn’t need to go into the night sky,” said Walt Klenner, a habitat biologist who moderated the panel at a Southern Interior Silviculture Committee meeting at the Coast Kamloops Hotel & Conference Centre.

Sullivan outlined a series of projects in the Southern Interior that compared clearcuts, uncut forest and a variety of piling logging debris across clearcuts as habitat for fisher, martin and weasels.

Those predators won’t cross open clearcuts due to threat from hawks and owls above.

But they thrive in windrows, particularly if they are used as a bridge between wildlife forest patches and riparian areas. Their prey — mice and voles — also thrive in the windrows.

“The windrows are better than the forest,” Sullivan said.

Other foresters made presentations showing there is economic value in what is today treated as waste and burned at roadside. The Thompson Rivers Forest District has undertaken a study to look at value and amount of woodwaste being burned in forests.

Dominik Roser, a research manager at FPInnovations, highlighted success in Nordic countries in which woody debris is used to fire community heating. Two-thirds of renewable energy in those countries comes from biomass versus solar or wind power, for example.

Students can take “heat entrepreneurship” in university that provides education on everything from obtaining fibre in the forest to engineering systems that provide heat and electricity in communities.

B.C. is beginning to see more use of woodwaste to create power.

Plants in Merritt and Fort St. James will create energy for the B.C. Hydro grid. But Roser said those plants typically only capture 30 per cent of energy, while those that channel waste heat to local municipal and commercial buildings are 90 per cent efficient.


Panelists said under B.C.’s current tenure system, major forest licencees have no incentive to change their current practice of using the best and burning the rest, warning it will take government regulation in some cases.



Just Posted

UPDATE: Missing senior couple found

A senior couple from the Lower Mainland have been reported missing

Recycling workshop at Clearwater Library

TNRD to hold workshops at libraries across region

Clearwater RCMP weekly police report

Clearwater RCMP responded to 41 calls for service over this past week

Editor, The Times:

Proportional Representation could save our democracy

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Bovine tuberculosis found in cow on southern B.C. farm

CFIA said the disease was found during slaughter and they are investigating

Air force getting more planes but has no one to fly them, auditor warns

The report follows several years of criticism over the Trudeau government’s decision not to launch an immediate competition to replace the CF-18s.

B.C.’s Esi Edugyan wins $100K Giller prize for Washington Black

Edugyan won her first Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2011 for Half-Blood Blues

Bolder action needed to reduce child poverty: Campaign 2000 report card

The report calls for the federal government to provide more funding to the provinces, territories and Indigenous communities to expand affordable, quality child care.

Judge bars US from enforcing Trump asylum ban

Protesters accused the migrants of being messy, ungrateful and a danger to Tijuana; complained about how the caravan forced its way into Mexico, calling it an “invasion.”

Ottawa Redblacks defensive back Jonathan Rose suspended for Grey Cup

Rose was flagged for unnecessary roughness and ejected for contacting an official with 37 seconds left in the first half following a sideline melee after a Tiger-Cats reception.

Most Read