Canada's boreal forest provides timber, maintaining an entire forestry industry, but is also increasingly valued for the roles it plays in carbon storage and sequestration and in providing habitats for biodiversity and opportunities for recreation and tourism, among other things. Thus, there is increasing interest in managing the forest for multiple ecosystem services. Clearcutting is rarely seen as a tool for sustainable forest management, with partial cutting (in which the forest is logged in two or three steps with decades between steps) and uneven-aged management (in which only a certain proportion of the trees are taken out of each stand) are gaining much more public support. This appeal is based partly on numerous findings that, in the first few years following logging, at the stand scale, partial-cuts and uneven-aged management provide more habitat for biodiversity, store more carbon, and are better for recreational and touristic purposes than are clearcuts. However, few if any studies have examined the large-scale, long-term effects of partial cutting and uneven-aged management on the sustainability of the forest and the associated forestry industry. Preliminary research indicates that one of the potential long term, large scale effects of such practices may be the construction of more roads than under a clearcutting scenario. Since road construction involves permanent forest loss, potential mortality for wildlife species travelling across the landscape, as well as the economic costs of maintenance and construction and the carbon emissions associated with the associated increased transportation, it is unclear that the benefits of partial cutting and uneven-aged management will indeed outweigh the costs if not carefully planned. Through this project, we will examine the large scale, long term effects of partial cutting and uneven-aged management on the environmental, economic, and social sustainability of the boreal mixedwood forest of central Quebec, investigating various spatial configurations that might minimize the costs and maximize the benefits of these alternative management approaches.

Chercheur principal

Christian Messier (UQO)

Co-chercheurs

Élise Filotas; Tim Work (UQAM); PG Nolet (UQO)

Organisme subventionnaire

CRSNG (Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelle et en génie)

Programme

Subvention de recherche et développement coopérative

Secteur de recherche

Environnement

Années

2017 - 2019

Montant accordé

80 000,00 $