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Wildlife mitigation burn performance monitoring at the Fording Coal Ltd., Fording River Mine

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Title: Wildlife mitigation burn performance monitoring at the Fording Coal Ltd., Fording River Mine
Author: Smyth, Clint R.; Paton, Dale; Berdusco, Roger Joseph; O'Brien, Billie; Sword, Greg
Issue Date: 2003
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2009-06-12
Series/Report no. British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium 2003
Abstract: Fording Coal Ltd. – Fording River Operations implemented a prescribed burn program in 1997 with the intention of mitigating the effects of habitat loss associated with the Henretta Ridge mining development. The objective of the mitigation burns was to increase wildlife habitat suitability and to provide winter habitat for elk and moose. Mitigation burns were completed in six areas. Each of these areas was subjected to a similar prescribed burn. A total of thirty-six transects were located in burned and unburned habitats. Vegetation, wildlife use and standing crop production (production clip) data were collected at each of the transects. The effects of the prescribed burn treatments on forest cover were evaluated with pre- and post-burn aerial photographs. The prescribed burns have been very successful. Firstly, canopy closure has been reduced in the areas where previously there was extensive crown closure. Secondly, plant species dominance has been altered. The change in species dominance has resulted in a greater abundance in herbaceous species and, therefore, potential forage. The increased cover of palatable grass and forb species is particularly beneficial for the enhancement of elk winter range. Standing crop production measurements have revealed that forage production and, consequently, Animal Unit Months (AUMs) have increased greatly. Thirdly, there has been a change in stand structure. The tall shrubs present prior to the burn are now producing forage within reach of the ungulates.
Affiliation: Applied Science, Faculty of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/9062
Peer Review Status:

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