Impacts of primary deforestation upon limestone slopes in northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia


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Publication Date

January 1993


Effects of deforestation upon slopes in limestones and in volcanic rocks in the Benson River valley, northern Vancouver Island, have been investigated quantitatively. Postlogging soil erosion and vegetal regeneration success were assessed by measuring soil depth, percent bare rock and moss cover, and the numbers and diversity of trees, shrubs, and plants on 25 sampling sites, each containing ten measuring quadrats selected at random. Sixteen sites were on the Quatsino Formation, a well-karstified limestone, and nine on the Karmutsen Formation of basaltic lavas. Eight sites were of virgin forest, 16 were logged between 1970 and 1983, and one (on limestone) was logged in 1911. Both bedrock types were significantly affected by the cutting. There was greater loss of soil and an increase in bare rock on the limestones. Erosion was increased significantly by burning on the limestones but not on the volcanics. Within-group comparisons on the limestones determined that steeper slopes and harder burned areas suffered the most and are slowest to regenerate. Volume of timber on the 1911 site was 19 percent of that in similar uncut forest sites. It appears that complete recovery on the barren limestone slopes will require at least some centuries.

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Environmental Geology, Vol. 21 (1993).