Comparing different forest zoning options for landscape-scale management of the boreal forest: Possible benefits of the TRIAD .
Pascal Côté, Rebecca Tittler, Christian Messier, Daniel Kneeshaw, Andrew Fall, Marie-Josée Fortin.
Forest management has been criticised in the last 20 years for its negative impact on the native species, structures and functions of the forest. Of many possible alternatives proposed to minimize these effects, the functional zoning (or TRIAD) approach is gaining popularity in North America. The goal of this approach is to minimize the negative environmental impacts of forestry while maintain timber supply by dividing the forest into three broad land-use zones: (1) conservation, (2) ecosystem management, and (3) wood production. In this study, we used a spatially explicit landscape model to simulate the effects of fire and six different forest management scenarios on a boreal mixedwood forest management unit in central Quebec. The management scenarios examined included the current practices scenario, a scenario proposed by the provincial government, and four TRIAD scenarios varying in the amount of forest allocated to each of the three zones. For each scenario, we examined the harvest volume, percentage old-growth forest or old forest managed to favour old-growth attributes, and effective mesh size of forest patches by 20-year age classes. With more area set aside for conservation and high-retention partial cut harvesting techniques designed to maintain the attributes of old-growth stands, all TRIAD scenarios resulted in higher percentages of stands with old-growth attributes than the current practices scenario and the government proposed scenario, and two of the four TRIAD scenarios also resulted in higher harvest volume over the long term. All forest management scenarios resulted in significantly lower effective mesh size than the fire-only scenario, but this difference was not as pronounced for the four TRIAD scenarios as for the current practice and government proposed scenarios. We conclude that the TRIAD approach has the potential to minimize some of the negative impacts of forestry on the landscape, while maintaining timber supply over the long term.