Developing Best Management Practices and Mitigation Approaches for Whitebark Pine
This survey is written from the perspective that industrial impacts do occur to whitebark pine and whitebark pine habitat, and impacts will continue to occur into the future. Thus, the questioning and desired responses are not ‘hands off’ but are rather directed at how we can best manage whitebark pine within an industrial and human-impacted landscape.
What is your area of practice?
What is your level of experience with whitebark pine recovery?
What health survey method would provide the most useful data to document rust levels?
Should standardized whitebark pine health surveys be established within a relevant distance from all industrial activities where whitebark pine is impacted?
Assuming large-scale industrial impacts, should these impacts be assessed by area of whitebark pine habitat impacted or by number of trees impacted?
Assuming small-scale industrial impacts, should these impacts be assessed by area of whitebark pine habitat impacted or by number of trees impacted?
When assessing industrial impact, should all whitebark pine trees count towards determining the restoration expectations?
When assessing trees for removal, a general approach is to permit diseased trees to be removed. How would you describe a diseased tree that can be removed?
Although pruning rust infected branches may only 'buy time,' do you think it is a suitable restoration activity?
During timber harvest, companies are often able to retain many mature trees while seedlings and saplings do not survive. Should these companies be required to plant seedlings, despite retaining seed trees?
If you answered Yes for the above, how would you determine how many seedlings should be planted? Recalling seed trees were retained but some understory losses were likely.
Your answer
Given that blister rust resistant seedlings may not be available for some time, do you consider planting the 'best available seedlings,' regardless of resistance status, a suitable management option at this time?
In forestry, a temporal lag exists between the timing of cutting large healthy cone-bearing trees and when planted seedlings will be reproductive. Considering the loss of reproductive output and ecological role what would you consider appropriate mitigation actions?
Considering the above question; for each large healthy cone-bearing tree cut down, what amount of mitigation would you consider necessary? Consider number of seedlings to plant, area of mature forest to restore, financial requirements, and combinations of approaches.
Your answer
During mining and mineral exploration, trees of all size classes are cut and habitat is destroyed with the caveat that seedlings will be replanted during reclamation (which may be decades away). Considering time lags and loss of mature trees, ecosystem services, and habitat; do you consider area based reclamation of 1:1 suitable compensation?
If you answered No for the above; describe what you would require companies to do for mitigation. Answer in quantifiable term - for each tree or hectare impacted, I would require the following.
Your answer
As we are still seeking rust resistant stock; it is possible that despite best efforts, a restoration effort will fail. What expectations should be placed on companies conducting restoration work?
Many mining companies are moving towards a model of net positive impact (NPI) on the environment, despite impacts to whitebark pine ecosystems through mine development. Considering that many stands have high rust infection, if the company was successful in identifying rust resistant stock, would you consider this to be a net positive impact?
Considering that in some cases the only means of mitigating an impact may be through financial offsets; how would you determine a suitable amount of compensation?
As there could be additional costs to companies that follow “best management practices” for whitebark pine, should there be an incentive to do so?
Additional comments regarding mitigation and/or the development of Best Management Practices.
Your answer
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