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The Last Spruce Grove

Old Growth, New Conflict



Author:

Celeste A. Leander
Department of Biology & Zoology
The University of British Columbia
cleander@interchange.ubc.ca

Abstract:

This case study follows a drama that unfolded around a stand of Sitka spruce trees (Picea sitchensis) on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The stand held significant historical and cultural significance, particularly to the local first-nations band, but grew on privately-held land. The stage was thus set for confrontation when the landowners expressed their interest in harvesting the valuable lumber. Students are introduced to differing concepts of "old growth" before determining stake-holders in this true story. They hear real concerns presented by many of those affected in a mock town-hall meeting. Students discuss consequences to disrupting an intact stand of old growth forest, including those to the neighboring waterways and to several rare species. Finally, students work in small groups to predict a successional pathway when a secondary disruption such as logging occurs. Originally developed for a first-year science course as part of the biology unit focusing on ecology, the case can also be used in a general biology course with an ecology or conservation curriculum, or in an undergraduate ecology course.

Objectives:
  • Compare definitions of "old growth" and discuss when each might be used.
  • Discuss structure and composition as factors defining successional stages of a forest.
  • Identify stakeholders in a conservation issue.
  • Predict consequences of clear-cut logging on the community and nearby waterways.
  • Evaluate where a stand of trees likely sits in a succession pathway.
  • Predict the return of this ecosystem, based on either Gleason's or Clements' hypothesis for community structure.
Keywords: Sitka spruce; Picea sitchensis; community; structure; ecosystem; old growth; logging; succession; interactive hypothesis; Clements; individualistic hypothesis; Gleason; Vancouver Island; Hu-ay-aht
Topical Area: Policy issues
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Debate, Dilemma/Decision, Discussion, Interrupted, Journal Article, Public Hearing
Language: English
Subject Headings: Anthropology   Biology (General)   Botany / Plant Science   Ecology   Forestry   Natural Resource Management  
Date Posted: 10/7/2015
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

Teaching Notes


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Answer Key


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Supplemental Materials


Students read pp. 1-12 of the following publication by Silva Ecology Consultants (reproduced here with permission).

  Old Growth Literature Review

I am having trouble reading the figure 5 in the "Last Spruce Grove" case study. It is very difficult to see the bars and the coding that is in them. I cannot get access to the study to see if it is more clear there. Any ideas?

Author’s Reply: This figure is as originally published. It is now archived by the ministry and this raw data is no longer available. However, the point can still be seen, and this is that Spruce are in the “other” category, and do not appear except at the 40 dbh category in immature forests. (Older forests in this climatic zone are predominately Western Hemlock and Western Red Cedar).




Gina Brewer
Science
Point Pleasant Borough High School
Point Pleasant NJ
gbrewer@pointpleasant.k12.nj.us
11/22/2016



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