The Potential for Drainage to Improve Productivity of Regenerating Forests on Northern Vancouver Island

Extensive portions of the productive forests in coastal British Columbia display below-average timber productivity possibly due to excess soil water. In particular, conifers regenerating on some western red cedar/western hemlock sites on northern Vancouver Island show very slow growth and nutrient deficiencies after harvest. The research team hypothesizes that the low nutrient supply is caused by inadequate drainage in these sites which results in anoxic conditions and lower mineralization of carbon and nutrient. The intern will study a drainage trial established by Western Forest Products Inc. on Suquash Flats near Port McNeill, BC. She will sample the vegetation and soil and compare vegetation growth and composition, soil moisture, redox potential, pH, microbial respiration, microbial community structure and mineralization of nitrogen and carbon in drained and un-drained plots. Findings from the field and laboratory studies of this project will be later incorporated into the ecosystem-based models, ForWaDy and FORECAST, to predict the responses of the ecosystems to different soil moisture conditions. A better understanding of inter-related factors affecting forest growth will help in providing more sustainable forest management solutions and demonstrate whether or not drainage is a potential operational practice for improving nutrient supply and productivity of these problematic sites.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Cindy E. Prescott


Toktam Sajedi


Western Forest Products Inc.






University of British Columbia



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