Options for harvesting timber to control snowpack accumulation

TitleOptions for harvesting timber to control snowpack accumulation
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1984
AuthorsTroendle, C. A., and Meiman J. R.
Conference Name52nd Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 52nd Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1984
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationSun Valley, Idaho
KeywordsSnow deposition, Snow redistribution, Snowpack accumulation, Timber harvest

Past research in the subalpine forest indicates that the effect of timber harvest on snowpack accumulation patterns and subsequently on streamflow can be optimized when 30-40 percent of the area is clearcut using 5-8 tree height openings. This paper will present the results of several recent studies looking at the effects of other harvesting practices on snowpack. Two years of post-harvest data indicate that large openings (26-tree height) can be created and a 25-30 percent increase in peak water equivalent (relative to undisturbed control) can be obtained through the use of residual stems and slash to create roughness and prevent scour. In another study five years of data on replicated plots of varying growing stock levels indicate that peak water equivalent in the pack can be increased up to 13 percent following thinning. Observations on a 40 ha subwatershed of the Fraser Experimental Forest where 35 percent of the basal area was removed by individual tree selection and 3 years of postharvest data is available, indicate peak water equivalent increased 10-15 percent over the entire area.