Monday, September 30, 2013

BMP's for Timber Harvesting and Invasive Plants

When trying to control invasive plants we often talk about using an integrated approach or "integrated vegetation management."  I write about this on my Forest Vegetation Management web site.  Each form of control is highlighted with an emphasis on chemical since this is often the most productive approach when manpower and dollars are limited.  It was brought to may attention that the US Forest Service has a new publication out entitled Proposed BMP's for Invasive Plant Mitigation During Timber Harvesting Operations.  I thought I would share this with my readers, since my vegetation site does not specifically address the disturbance opportunity associated with timber harvesting. 

Invasive plants are opportunistic and disturbance adapted.  This is something I have really begun to notice about the ongoing battle with invasive plants.  On many properties visited I have been reluctant to recommend a harvest since it often means opening the door for invasive plants to get a strong hold on the site.  It can be a tremendous cost in time and money to keep invasive plants under control.  By implementing some of the Best Management Practices (BMP's) outlined in the publication maybe we can keep the invasion of invasive plants to a minimum.  It is certainly something to consider prior to harvesting.

Abstract: The invasion and spread of invasive plants is a major problem in forested ecosystems. Invasive plants can displace existing vegetation and in some cases take over the site. With the displacement of native vegetation come major ecosystem changes that may jeopardize ecological processes and functions as well as habitat for wildlife. The disturbance caused during timber harvesting processes creates conditions that encourage the establishment and spread of invasive plants. The machinery and traffic movement within a job site may introduce and spread seeds, roots, and plant parts from one job site to another. In this report, we address the timber harvesting processes and the disturbance that is created; explain how seeds, roots, and other parts of invasive plants can be spread; address the opportunity costs involved and those responsible; and propose voluntary BMPs for invasive plant mitigation during timber harvesting operations.

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