The project will focus on monitoring changes in 63 plots already attacked by MPB in the Grande Prairie and Whitecourt forest areas before 2010. On these plots post-attack development will be assessed over a 7-year-plus period by 2016. A total of 105 plot re-measurements are scheduled for the period 2014 to 2016 (Table 1).
The 63 plots are part of a selection of 240 existing industrial and government permanent sample plots. They have baseline forest inventory data available, and were re-assessed within 2 years of attack. Measurement protocols were developed in collaboration with ESRD and University of Alberta scientists, including John Stadt (Provincial Forest Ecologist) and Dr. Ellen MacDonald (Professor, University of Alberta Department of Renewable Resources). Field measurements will be conducted between August 1 and 15 and include:
- Measurement of saplings and regeneration for all conifer and broadleaf tree species;
- Assessment of shrubs, herbs, grass, floor mosses, ground lichens, un-decayed wood, bare ground, and important caribou and grizzly bear food species;
- Ground cone counts and tree cone serotiny assessment;
- Identification green attack trees and trees that have died since last measurement, including cause of death; and
- Assessment of arboreal lichens.