Changing seasons bring unique opportunities for forest management.

As the vibrant colours of autumn fade, and barren branches dominate the landscape, now seems a good time to remind ourselves of the problems and possibilities found in fallen leaves, shorter days and stormy weather.

Water Management

“Carry a shovel to fix small problems before they become major problems.” – wise words from a Managed Forest owner

The objective of preventative maintenance is to keep water off roads and running in its natural course where practical. After storms and heavy rainfall, branches, leaves and debris can block ditches, culverts and crossing structures. Once it’s safe, drive or walk along your roads and trails. Check to make sure:

  • Ditches are functional
  • Culverts are unobstructed
  • Cross ditches are intact and operational

The photos below show how water bars or grader dips can divert water off your roads and onto more stable vegetated areas.

  

For more detailed water management best practices (BMPs) see pages 22 – 31 The Handbook of Best Management Practices for Private Forest Land in British Columbia.

Reforestation

Late fall is a great time to check your recently restocked areas. Most competing seasonal vegetation has died off, making it much easier to locate crop seedlings, identify gaps and mortality, and pest and disease problems.

Based on your findings, you can plan remedial actions:

  • Brushing
  • Spacing
  • Browse protection
  • Planting or re-planting

If you determine there’s a need to replace dead seedlings, or fill gaps, make plans:

  • Assess the extent of the area
  • Identify numbers and species of trees you’ll need to fully stock the site
  • Order seedlings and line-up the help you’ll need
  • If you’re unsure, seek advice (PMFLC and PFLA are great resources).

For more detailed reforestation BMPs see pages 44-45 The Handbook of Best Management Practices for Private Forest Land in British Columbia.

Forest Browse Protection

Deer management is an on-going concern for private forest landowners. Consider the merits of hunting to reduce deer numbers. While deterrents like browse protectors, repellents and fencing can be effective, they require:

  • Time
  • Money
  • Attention

Reducing deer populations is the most effective approach to protect your forest from damage. Here’s a link to a CTV news video exploring the problems of black tailed deer on southern Vancouver Island.

You can find all of PFLA’s best management practices (and more!) in The Handbook of Best Management Practices for Private Forest Land in British Columbia.

Or, if you have a specific question you need a hand with, leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you.