BC Ministry of Forests and Range sowing request trends compiled in January show a possible 70 million decline in seedlings for the 2009 planting season.
Based on sowing request information of the Ministry of Forests Seed Planning and Registry Application (SPAR), 276-million seedlings were planted in the 2007 planting season. This was the second largest planting in BC history. However this increase has been disproportionately directed toward spring planting.
In addition to the spring planting concentration, seedlings being ordered are younger and smaller. Given the lack of information on the aerial extent of current harvesting, regeneration delay, and block-level forest stewardship plans it remains uncertain whether the increase in sowing is an adequate silvicultural response.
In addition it is worth noting that there is nearly a 100-million seedling difference in the estimate of number of seedlings planted in SPAR and those reported in the ASR. The 2008 planting programme has declined by over 25-million seedlings and is expected to be about 250-million seedlings.
The 2008 spring-planting programme is about 8-million seedlings smaller than 2007 with an expected planting of 208-million seedlings. The 2008 summer planting programme will be about 38-million, a decline of 15-million seedlings from 2007.
The prognosis for the 2009 planting programme is troubling. Sowing requests at nurseries have declined by 70-million seedlings. Although the orders for 2009 are not yet complete, the spring-planting orders have now been placed for only 171-million seedlings – a decline of 37-million seedlings from the expected 2008 planting programme.
Assuming the continual decline of summer-ship seedlings, the total 2009 planting programme will be about 200-million seedlings – a 20-year low in seedling production and planting activities. It is worth noting that the 2009 programme is buoyed by 12-million seedlings to support FFT programmes.
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