A key component of our strategy to maintain forest biodiversity while sustainably harvesting our AAC, is in designing harvest patterns to provide connections between ecosystems and habitats over space and time, and to maintain areas of older forests for the biological legacies they provide. At the cutblock scale, key ecosystems, representative older trees, and ecological anchors such as bear dens are reserved from timber harvest to provide bridging habitats for organisms big and small until the re-growing forest can be colonized again. Cutblock reserves may provide for stream protection, breeding sites, archaeological features, rare plants, uncommon ecosystems, or seed sources. While reserves provide for forest dependent species, the harvested portions of cutblocks provide temporary opportunities for sun-loving plants and animals and add to overall species richness.
Planning for cutblock shape and reserve distribution is used to increase the shading and influence of adjacent trees to soften the effect of harvesting overstorey trees. Retention silviculture is used to ensure that at least half of the cutblock area is within one tree length of one or more reserved trees. Under our biodiversity strategy, the retention silviculture system is matched to the ecological characteristics of the local landscape, and on average across the company’s operating areas the retention system must be applied to at least 50% of our cutblock area.