NRESi Colloquium: Variable Retention Harvesting as an Alternative to Clear-cutting: Long-term Experimental Results on Biodiversity Dynamics at EMEND. Dr. Samuel Bartels, UNBC

Friday, November 26, 2021 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm
Room 8-164 and Online: (
Prince George

Dr. Samuel BartelsOne of the main goals of silviculture, beyond timber production and regeneration of managed stands, is to develop harvesting prescriptions that safeguard biodiversity and minimize adverse effects on ecosystem structure and function. Variable retention harvesting (VRH) is widely accepted as an alternative to traditional harvesting methods, such as clear-cutting, to meet a broad array of ecological objectives, including biodiversity maintenance in managed forests. However, it is unclear how the benefits of VRH vary across a range of harvesting intensities or persist in the long-term post-harvest. In this seminar, I present ongoing work and research experiences on biodiversity response to a wide range of variable retention harvest treatments in boreal mixedwood forests, as part of the Ecosystem Management Emulating Natural Disturbance (EMEND) project located in northern Alberta. Present results increasingly suggest that higher levels of retention, as compared to clear-cut harvest, can help to minimize the adverse impacts of harvesting, as well as facilitate faster post-harvest recovery of understory plant communities. Other considerations of forest management planning to help determine where to leave retention harvest patches on the landscape for the greatest ecological benefits are also discussed.

The Natural Resources & Environmental Studies Institute (NRESi) at UNBC hosts a weekly lecture series at the Prince George campus. Anyone from the university or wider community with interest in the topic area is welcome to attend. Go to to view the presentation remotely.

Past NRESi colloquium presentations and special lectures can be viewed on our video archive, available here.

Please Note: NRESi colloquium presentations this semester will be available to attend both in-person as well as online. However, those wishing to attend in-person must wear a mask as per Provincial Health Officer (PHO) orders and University policy. Thank you for your understanding. 

Contact Information

Al Wiensczyk, RPF
Research Manager,
Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Institute
Phone: 250-614-4354
Phone: 250-960-5018

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