Salvage of Hemlock Looper-Killed Timber in the Robson Valley
Between 1992 and 1994, there was an epidemic of western hemlock looper (the looper) in the Prince George and Robson Valley Forest Districts. The looper is an insect that damages and sometimes kills trees by feeding on and stripping the trees of foliage. Periodically, looper populations increase sharply for several years and then decline. Such an increase happened between 1991 and 1994, when the looper damaged 14, 000 hectares of forest in the Robson Valley. The damage occurred as patches of partly, or completely defoliated, forest within a much larger forest area.
In 1995, the Robson Valley Forest District (the district) and local forest companies proposed salvage harvesting of large areas of severely damaged old growth forest. Salvage harvesting would remove trees that were dead, dying or deteriorating before the wood degraded and was no longer merchantable. Cutblocks of up to 800 hectares were originally proposed in forest development plans for the valley. By early 1996, when the silviculture prescriptions for those cutblocks were approved, the cutblocks had been reduced to less than 120 hectares to allow management of other forest values.