BANNOCK IN BLOOM
SIFCo has been working in partnership with Wildsight and Kalesnikoff to implement an exciting new project in one our our Type Two treatment areas at Bannock Point. The vision for the 'Bannock In Bloom' project is to transform this Two hectare site by introducing multiple fire tolerant food plant species and a variety of native deciduous trees to inhabit the understory of the site.
We have been experiencing extremely hot, dry summers for a prolonged period of time here in BC which has been presenting us with many challenges one of which is high intensity wildfires.
SIFCo has been responding to those challenges by implementing Strategic fuel breaks throughout our tenure here in the Slocan Valley in order to reduce the threat these wildfires pose to our communities and the overall health of our ecosystems.
We have been using five different treatment types to implement these fuel breaks. Our Type Two treatment utilizes logging for fuel management. We go into overgrown areas, harvest the smaller trees, and leave the larger trees in place. The long term vision for these areas is that one day the larger trees will become old growth due to the reduced competition and increased space for growth.
This Innovative new project aims to introduce fire tolerant, native food plant species into our harvested area as a way to increase biodiversity and ecological health while also reducing the risk of high intensity forest fires in the area.
Typically in old growth forest you see large diameter, fire tolerant trees with an understory of shrubs and herbaceous plants, which is why this collaboration with Wildsight and Kalesnikoff fits so perfectly with our hope for these Type Two treatment areas.
A group of forestry students brought together by Wildsight are planting native deciduous trees and fruit trees in between the large trees left behind after our harvest.
These trees are all fire tolerant, will help with water retention and will increase the biodiversity, ecological health and overall resilience of this area. The use of native food crops will also help to increase local food security.
We hope to create a community asset capable of generating social, nutritional, and economic value which will provide incentives and resources to make the site more fire-resistant and reduce the need for future wildfire treatment.
The stream keepers have also been involved in this project.. Grergoire Lamereux has been working alongside the students and team leader Mellissa Lavery to help restore two wetlands within the project area and mentor the students. Wetlands are great at sequestring carbon, retaining water and increasing biodiversity.
According to Gerald Cordeiro, Forest Development Manager for Kalesnikoff, agroforests also hold immense promise to improve the carbon balance of forests in the Columbia Basin.
“By selecting our species carefully, reducing emissions from wildfires, and using excess biomass to enhance soil health and carbon storage, these kinds of sites can support our climate change mitigation efforts. We believe this is a scalable model that can have a measurable positive impact on our communities,” says Cordeiro.