Range of natural variability: Applying the concept to forest management in central British Columbia
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The range of natural variability (RNV) is a concept relevant to maintaining biodiversity and resilience in managed forests. It is, however, a challenging concept both to describe and apply. Here, we refine the definition of RNV. We also discuss information and data sources required and the appropriate use of spatial and temporal scales. A new term, the apparent range of variability (ARV), is suggested to convey the dependency of estimates of the RNV on the temporal and spatial extent of available data sources. We offer a process for developing an RNV definition, applying it operationally, and integrating desired future conditions with social and economic values. We illustrate the challenges in defining and implementing the RNV concept with an example of the Interior Douglas fir (IDF) (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca) forests in Lignum Ltd.'s (now Riverside Forest Products Ltd.) Innovative Forest Practices Agreement area in central British Columbia, Canada. This paper outlines the rationale for using the RNV concept to guide forest management, defines RNV and methods used to estimate it, suggests a process to apply this concept to forest management in the IDF, and describes some of the challenges and limitations in using the RNV concept.
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