Your forest is alive. It grows, adapts and changes over time and seasons. With your forest’s flexibility comes the need to regularly revisit, evaluate and reassess your plans. The new year is an ideal time to take stock and plan ahead for the coming year.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a series of blog posts – best management practices from our bible, The Handbook of Best Management Practices for Private Forest Land in British Columbia.

First up: a few words about reforestation. Nathaniel Stoffelsma of Arbutus Grove Nursery talks about their process for ordering and growing seedlings in the video below.

Reforestation Planning

Prior to harvesting, develop a reforestation strategy. You might:

  • Consider the value of reforestation through natural regeneration of residual and suppressed understory trees;
  • Improve planting stock and fertilizer to boost survival and yield, and at the same time reduce pest management problems and animal browse;
  • Protect seedling against damage from pests (deer, rodents) through tree species choice, tree guards, fencing and repellents;
  • Develop an integrated pest management strategy suitable for the size and intensity of your forestry operation.

Also, be sure to:

  • Obtain any permits necessary for site preparation and pest management (burning, pesticides, etc.)
  • If you plan on planting, make sure to order your seedlings ahead of time. Inspect the ordered seedlings prior to lifting and shipment.

Reforestation BMPs

  • Reforest with trees appropriate for the growing site and management objectives.
  • If planting, employ good quality seedling stock and ensure good storage and handling.
  • Take reasonable steps to protect the reforested areas from damage by fire and pests.
  • Employ remedial measures such as fill planting, brushing and other silviculture techniques as necessary.
  • If using pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers, follow directions on product labels and relevant regulations.
  • Isolate fertilizer from watercourses and where appropriate limit on-site quantities to daily application requirements.
  • Monitor planted areas to ensure trees are growing with sufficient density to achieve a stage free of competition from other plants.
  • Monitor successfully regenerated areas for forest health.

What do good quality seedlings look like?

  • Healthy! Without pale or discoloured foliage. No mould.
  • Large, abundant dormant buds.
  • Plug and bare-root stock should have a vigorous, fibrous root system.
  • Good ratio of roots to shoots.


How to store and handle seedlings?

  • Keep plants moist and cool.
  • Handle plants carefully (seedling mortality is directly related to rough treatment).
  • Avoid desiccation – keep plants safe from heat or high winds.