The Haida-owned Taan Forest has invested $ 1.6 million from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC for the ecological restoration of nearly 300 hectares of riparian areas and habitat on Haida Gwaii.
Work has continued for the past two years. The first of two projects led by Taan aimed to restore nearly 185 hectares of riparian areas along the Yakoun River, a nearly 60 km long body of water that is Haida Gwaii’s largest river.
Areas along the river have been identified as Red and Blue List ecosystems under the Haida Gwaii Land Use Objectives Decree. Red List ecosystems are or have endangered or threatened populations and Blue List ecosystems are recovering from being threatened or endangered. The restored lands contain protected areas for fish habitat and a 100-year floodplain.
“This river system was historically exploited up to the water and used to transport logs,” said Jeff Mosher, RPF, chief forester, Taan Forest. “These large rivers need a supply of biomass to create small ice jams in order to maintain stable basins in the river ecosystem and along the banks. Right now the river lacks those tall trees that support the riverbank, wildlife, and trees that would eventually fall into the river and provide structure and create habitat in the river.
In a press release, Taan said his goal is to manage second-growth spruce and cedar trees to create large root and branching structures. This style of management helps trees grow faster than they would naturally. It also gives the added benefit of strengthening the bank of the stream.
Workers spaced the trees further apart and created snags – standing dead trees – and introduced coarse woody debris to mimic the natural processes of riparian areas over a shorter period of time. By opening the stand, creating snags and stressing the trees, workers created habitats for creatures like wood-boring insects, birds, squirrels, and the Northern Goshawk of Haida Gwaii, which is the national bird. of Haida Gwaii.
The project created six months of full-time employment, including a 10-person team from Old Massett hired by Old Massett Village Council who carried out work under the supervision of riparian specialists.
“The Old Massett team has done a fantastic job and Taan Forest aims to continue creating restoration opportunities for Old Massett and other communities in Haida Gwaii to replace jobs lost due to a shrinking forest industry. on Haida Gwaii, ”Mosher said.
Taan’s second project involved tree spacing and pruning lower branches in overly dense coniferous stands to improve habitat for Northern Goshawks. Reducing the number of trees opens up flight paths for goshawks and other avian creatures. It also allows sunlight to reach the plants on the forest floor to promote the growth of brush and berries.
Spacing and pruning was done by additional crews from Haida Gwaii local communities, including Old Massett and Skidegate.
“The hope is that this will create more forage and canopy structure for the Northern Goshawk and snags for the little owls while also benefiting many other wildlife,” Mosher said.
“Without the funding from the FESBC, we would not have been able to do the work we have done so far and launch an initiative for more restoration work. This is important for reconciliation with the nation and for restoring the areas affected by the war effort and the registration of the code of pre-forest forestry practices.
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