Forest Renewal in Manitoba

spruce plantationThe mission of Manitoba's Forest Renewal Program is to ensure that all harvested forests are satisfactorily regenerated to maintain the existing mosaic of forest ecosystem stand types, on untenured Crown land.

The principal components of the program include:

  • promoting natural regeneration on Crown Lands
  • continued site preparation and tree planting on Crown Lands, and
  • the implementation of stand tending, competitive vegetation management and intensive silviculture in renewed forests and plantations.

These objectives are carried out through three specific programs: the Forest Renewal Program, the Tree Improvement Program, and the Silviculture Surveys Program.

What is Silviculture?

Silviculture is the art, science and practice of controlling the establishment, composition, health, quality, and growth of the vegetation of forest stands. Silviculture involves the manipulation, at the stand and landscape levels, of forest and woodland vegetation, including live vegetation, and the control of production of stand structures, such as snags and down logs, to meet the needs and values of society and landowners on a sustainable basis.

Dunister, Julian A. and K. J. Dunister. 1996. Dictionary of Natural Resource Management.

Silviculture in Manitoba

aerial view of plantationTo meet the mandate of returning harvested forests to their pre-harvest condition, proper forest management requires that all planned operations carried on a given block of land be linked through the various treatments and programs required.

One component, Forest Renewal and the activities associated with it, such as site preparation, scarification and tree planting for example, must be determined in advance of harvesting and are linked to the pre-harvest forest conditions. These conditions are documented during pre-harvest surveys. These surveys on planned harvesting block or sites confirm the forest resource inventory and assist forest planners in prescribing the type of harvesting activity to occur. Based on the type of harvesting, and site considerations such as soil type or understorey vegetation and presence of competition species, the forest renewal activities that will be required to regenerate the site back to its pre-harvest condition, are determined. The season of operation, type of site preparation or scarification equipment and the silviculture system necessary for reforestation (natural vs. planted including the species and stock type) are also decided.

The prescribed renewal activities occur sequentially over the short-term, to get the forest growing again. With long-term monitoring performed via Regeneration and Free to Grow surveys, and any subsequent silviculture treatment that may be necessary such as vegetation management, forest managers can meet the planned renewal goals and achieve the required Renewal Standards for each block. The successfully regenerated forest can then be incorporated back into the forest resource inventory and wood supply models to begin the cycle again.

Portions of the Forest Renewal web pages are taken from The Manitoba Silviculture Manual, Volume 1, 1991. J.D. Vaillancourt and numerous documents by J. Delaney, et al.