Restoration: Before & After

Sallus Creek Headwaters Restoration

The headwaters of Sallus Creek and Tiffin Creek occur in an undulating high-elevation plateau in the north-east corner of the Xaxli’p Community Forest. This area has many streams and wetlands, making it a unique place in Xaxli’p territory. The forests near the streams and wetlands were originally made up of patches of old-growth sub-alpine fir, Engelmann spruce, and lodgepole pine, with openings of willow and other wetland shrubs. This moist area has historically been important habitat for moose that forage on the shrubs that grow in the wetlands and near the streams. In the 1990s, a non-Xaxli’p logging company clearcut large tracts of the forest. Trenches and mounds were dug into the soil, and pine and spruce trees were planted. The clearcutting changed the diverse spruce, fir and pine ecosystems into dense plantations. The open, shrubby wetlands and stream banks were replaced with thick young forests that decreased the value of the moose habitat.

We carried out two types of work in the clearcuts: eco-cultural restoration along a stream bank to improve moose habitat, and stand thinning in five one-hectare areas of land within the clearcut to observe tree growth and habitat improvements over time.

Sallus Creek Restoration Area: 79 hectares
Area of completed eco-cultural restoration: 14 hectares
Remaining area to restore: 65 hectares

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Gibbs Creek Forest Restoration

Gibbs Creek Forest RestorationThe dry Douglas fir forest near the headwaters of Gibbs Creek is a common ecosystem type in Xaxli’p Territory. These forests are fire-maintained ecosystems – that is, they require regular low-intensity fires to maintain an open, old growth forest structure. However, in the last century, fire suppression and high-grade logging has changed the forests from open, old growth forests to dense, young forests. The forests at Gibbs Creek now have few old growth trees and a high density of young Douglas fir trees.

Our objectives at Gibbs Creek are to restore an open, patchy old growth structure of the forest, increase understory shrubs and herbs, improve timber quality, and reduce fire hazard. We selected a 2.5 hectare patch of forest to carry out eco-cultural restoration.

Area of Gibbs Creek forest: 112 hectares
Area of completed eco-cultural restoration: 2.5 hectares
Remaining area to restore: 109.5 hectares

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Gibbs Creek Riparian Restoration

Cedar at Gibbs CreekThe Gibbs Creek eco-cultural restoration area is a unique place in Xaxli’p Territory. The water-rich forest along the creek is home to cedar, birch, alder, and other water-loving plants.  Several medicine and food plants that are rare in Xaxli’p territory are found growing here, including red dogwood, sarsaparilla, and hakwa7 (cow parsnip). Although the area was logged in the mid-1900s, there are still a few large cedar, spruce and fir trees growing along the stream banks.

The logging created a significant change in the riparian (streamside) ecosystems of Gibbs Creek. When the large spruce and fir trees were logged, a dense stand of aspen, birch, and alder grew in. The deciduous trees blocked sunlight from the forest floor, and suppressed growth of new spruce and fir trees. As a result, the forest changed from an old growth conifer forest to a young deciduous forest, with almost no spruce and fir trees replacing those that were logged. A few cedar seedlings are growing in the understory.

Our objective at Gibbs Creek was to assist the forest in returning to an old-growth spruce, fir, and cedar forest, similar to what it looked like before it was logged. To do this, we planted a total of 70 trees along the stream next to old growth stumps. Then, we cut down a few deciduous trees next to each transplants to the sunlight to the transplants.

Gibbs Creek Riparian Area: 1 ha
Area of completed eco-cultural restoration: 1 ha
Remaining area to restore: 0 ha

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Diablo Meadows

Diablo Meadows is a restoration area that represents an overstocked Douglas fir stand typical to Xaxli’p Territory. Because this forest type is common in Xaxli’p Territory, a significant amount of the eco-cultural restoration carried out in Xaxli’p Territory will be similar to the restoration of Diablo Meadows.
Diablo Meadows is a 13 hectare forested area in the relatively moist valley bottom of Fountain Valley. In the past, this type of forest would have had frequent low-intensity wildfires that burned the understory, maintaining an open forest with a healthy understory of herbs and shrubs. However, in the 1900s, British Columbia began a policy of fire suppression, and fires that started in Fountain Valley were extinguished. Because fires were no longer part of the landscape, seedlings that normally would have burned in the fires were able to grow into large trees. As an additional stress to the forest, the large old-growth trees were logged from Diablo Meadows in the mid-1900s by non-Xaxli’p companies.  As a result of the logging and fire suppression, the forest was changed into a dense young stand with about 2000 trees per hectare, and no old growth trees.

Our objective at Gibbs Creek was to restore the forest structure to an open forest with clumps of old trees interspersed with forest openings of grasses, herbs and shrubs. In 2010, we carried out the restoration treatments.

Area of Diablo Meadows: 13 hectares
Area of completed eco-cultural restoration: 13 hectares
Remaining area to restore: 0 hectares

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The Plantation

The Plantation is the first restoration area that XCFC completed. The Plantation is a 16 hectare clearcut that was logged, burned, and replanted in the 1980s by a non-Xaxli’p company. This restoration area was selected by Elders and other Xaxli’p community members through a number of community discussions about restoration priorities. The main focus of the restoration work is improving the health and vigor of an important cultural resource, xusum (Shepherdia canadensis).  Other objectives include restoring a diversity of plant species, and restoring a forest structure of patches and openings. Xusum is plentiful in the Plantation, especially on the lower slopes. However, as the thick young forest grows, it slowly fills the growing space, leaving little sunlight, water, and nutrients for the xusum.

Xusum grows best in sites with some moisture and partial to full sunlight. In order to create this type of habitat for xusum, we cut down young trees that were shadowing the xusum. This allows more sunlight to reach the plants, and increases the amount of water flowing through the site.  Approximately 65% of the trees were cut, leaving an average of 400 stems per hectare on the site. Trees were left standing beside stumps and decomposing logs. Aspen and other deciduous trees were left standing to maintain diversity in the tree species. The slash was lopped and scattered to bring the slash as close to the ground as possible. Finally, the trees were pruned to reduce ladder fuels and improve timber quality. 

Area of the Plantation: 16 hectares
Area of completed eco-cultural restoration: 16 hectares
Remaining area to restore: 0 hectares

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Events & News

February 2018: New Board of Directors elected at Annual General Meeting


July 2017: New academic article out on the Xaxli'p Community Forest!



Xaxli’p Community Forest Corporation (XCFC) carries out ecologically and culturally sustainable land use for the benefit of Xaxli’p people, considering the needs of present and future generations.

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