A large area near Falkland on Highway 97C was burned in a wildfier 14 years ago.

Burned Falkland forest on the mend

Natural Resource District staff , Tolko Industries Ltd and Forest Enhancement Society of B.C.

A greener future has been planted on the charred hillside in Falkland.

The large area near Falkland on Highway 97C, previously burned in a wildfire 14 years ago, was the focus of a local Natural Resource District staff and Tolko Industries Ltd. project funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. for forest rehabilitation and to improve the area for mule deer winter range.

“The Cedar Hills fire of 2005 in the Okanagan Shuswap Forest District burned approximately 1,200 hectares of forest land,” said Dave Conly, Operations Manager for FESBC. “Of the land affected by the fire, 830 hectares was salvage logged and reforested by Tolko Industries Ltd., BC Timber Sales, and local woodlot holders. There remained a significant area of land untreated, and until now, was severely degraded due to the intensity of the fire.”

Difficult growing conditions, including drought, existed for some of the remaining area and previous attempts to reforest for timber productivity had been largely unsuccessful.

“Tolko Industries Ltd., working with the local Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) District staff, assessed the site and concluded there was an opportunity to reforest portions of the burnt area,” said Conly. “Fourteen years since the fire, the area has experienced some deciduous brush growth and recovery of the soil which led the professional foresters to conclude it would be worth another try to regenerate the area. The work is supported by local biologists as the area is part of a critical mule deer winter range.”

The treatment area is BC Crown land that has not been harvested, and therefore falls to the Province of B.C. to do the reforestation.

Although Tolko has no legal obligation for the treatment area, they wanted to help.

Tolko applied for funding to undertake the reforestation work on behalf of the Province.

FESBC and FLNRORD reviewed and supported the application and a commitment for funding of just under $200,000 was awarded in 2017.

Extensive planning ensued and included consultation with wildlife specialists and First Nations followed by detailed prescriptions for reforestation and habitat improvement objectives.

Winter wildlife surveys were completed and concluded the area held significant importance as winter range for mule deer. Next, Tolko foresters developed silviculture prescriptions, obtained seed for sowing, grew seedlings in nurseries, and prepared for planting for the spring of 2019.

“Planting started early this April with Caretakers of the Land from Enderby, who subcontracted the planting to Nature’s Treasures,” said Conly. “The 19 workers planted 1,600 trees per hectare with three different ratios of Ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir, depending on the bio geoclimatic zone of the site, and completed the planting mid-April.”

The area is currently reported to have good soil moisture with recent rains adding to the probability of successful survival for the newly planted trees.

Tolko’s silviculture forester, Stefan Albrecher expressed a personal interest in the project and indicated he would be visiting the area to check survival and growth.

“It’s probably a good 10 years before we could expect to see trees above the brush from the road,” said Albrecher. “But when we do, it will be great to see.”

Related: North Okanagan could ban single-use plastic bags by 2020

Related: Residents and cat escape home fire near Falkland

To report a typo, email:
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com
.


@VernonNews
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

BC Transit incorporates North Okanagan route changes

Changes coming June 2 to routes in Coldstream and Armstrong

UPDATED 6:15 P.M.: Serious accident closes portion of Highway 6 in Vernon

Car and pickup involved in collision near Pottery Road just after 5 p.m.; detours around scene

Vernon baseball players land U.S. deals, help teammate battle cancer

Four Vernon players on Okanagan Athletics heading south to play ball at college

Vernon tattoo fundraiser draws tons of support

Lineup around the block for start and beginning of Five Fathoms Tattoo event for Children’s Hospital

Vernon Tigers, South Okanagan Flames play to wild draw

Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League match ends 17-17; overtime solves nothing

Weather holds up for Rutland May Days

60th annual May Day midway, market and entertainment saw hundreds of attendees

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

South Okanagan runners take top spots in Peach City RunFest

Both the top male and female half-marathon winners were from Penticton

Former Greyhound Canada employees gather in Okanagan to say a final farewell

“Greyhound may take our jobs but they will never take our friendships,” says former bus driver

Kelowna firefighters douse blaze in hedges

The cause of the fire on Renfrew Road is under investigation.

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

Okanagan Springtime Regatta draws more than 50 sailboats

Sailors treated to windy, excellent long weekend conditions on Okanagan Lake in Kelowna

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read