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104   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

All the facts therefore point to the uneven-aged Douglas fir stand as the most suitable forest for this region; this means that the debris must be disposed of to allow the fir to reseed, and the extreme fire hazard, created by the debris, to be thus removed.

 

Northern   Rainfall, averaging more than one hundred inches

Coast   annually, an average annual temperature under 45

Region degrees, severer winters with heavy snowfall, a shorter growing season and an absence of sunshine, with its important influence in assisting decomposition of vegetable matter, and the creation of healthful soil conditions, occurring in conjunction with a rugged and rocky topography devoid of soil deposits, produce a forest along the northern coast of British Columbia very different from that in the Douglas fir coast region.

Hemlock is a universal constituent of the stand, mixed with cedar and spruce, and occasionally with yellow cedar. The forest is dense, although the trees, except in the best situations, are short and extremely defective, the hemlock rarely being of a merchantable character. The undergrowth consists almost wholly of hemlock and cedar brush, and is fairly dense. The most characteristic feature of this forest region is the deep accumulation of vegetable material, consisting of down trees, branches, leaves, moss, roots, etc. This layer, which is often many feet deep, is saturated with water practically throughout the year and consequently assumes the nature of a muskeg.

In the interior, the rainfall becomes less, and the summer temperature higher, while on the watersheds of streams like the Bella Coola, Dean, Skeena and Nass rivers, which cut through the Coast range, the conditions a, regards climate and soil are so much different from those of the coast and coastal islands, as to produce a marked improvement in the forest. On the Bella Coola and Dean rivers the Douglas fir coast type reappears, and, on the Skeena and Nass, there are extensive areas of merchantable forest in which spruce is the dominant species. On the map, the forest on the Bella Coola and on Dean channel is properly classed with the Douglas fir coast type, but the dense spruce and hemlock forests of the Nass and Skeena watersheds can be considered only as a variation of the northern coast type.

In this region also belong the forests of Queen Charlotte islands, although here the better soil results in an increase in the proportion of spruce and in a better development of the trees. Everywhere in the region, however, there are found very marked accumulations of undecomposed vegetable material which, as has been said, can be considered a distinguishing feature of the region.


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