Forest and Range Evaluation Program soil monitoring
The objective for soils under the Forest Planning and Practices Regulation, Section 5 is to conserve the productivity and the hydrologic function of soils.
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Under the province's Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA), soil disturbance is classified into two main types:
- Areas occupied by permanent access structures
- Areas occupied by soil disturbance in the net area to be reforested
Soil disturbance in the net area to be reforested is further categorized as the area occupied by corduroyed trails, compacted areas, areas of dispersed disturbance and un-rehabilitated temporary access structures.
The Forest Planning and Practices Regulation sets out practice requirements to ensure soil conservation:
- Limits are set for soil disturbance caused by timber harvesting, with stricter limits prescribed on sensitive soils
- Requirements are set for the rehabilitation of excessively disturbed areas, where appropriate
- Limits are set for permanent access structures within cutblocks
- Prohibitions are set to prevent causing landslides or gully processes
- The requirement is set for road building to maintain natural drainage patterns
- The requirement is set for deactivated roads to be revegetated where needed to reduce likelihood of erosion
" Are Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) standards and practices achieving the desired result of protecting soil such as maintaining natural drainage patterns, minimizing soil disturbance and properly identifying and protecting sensitive soils?"
The soil value is evaluated using the Cutblock-Level Soil Resource Stewardship Monitoring Protocol. The methodology consists of quantifying and describing:
- The extent of the area within cutblocks that is lost to permanent access structures
- The detrimental effects of soil disturbance on natural drainage patterns, the potential for landslides, and erosion
- The amount of soil disturbance within cutblocks and roadside work areas
- The amount of green tree, dead wood, and organic matter retention that has occurred in the various standards units
These data are then compared with accepted operational standards to determine whether the results are consistent with the objective to maintain soil productivity and hydrologic function.
The data is monitored over time to enable tracking trends in provincial soil resource management practices and to identify issues requiring further information, technical support, guidance, detailed monitoring or research to ensure sustainable soil resource management.