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110   COMMISSION OF' CONSERVATION

fit the conditions. Where removal of the debris is undertaken, how-ever, it must be carefully done, the so-called broadcast method of burning usually being out of the question.

 

Fraser

That portion of the great interior plateau, which takes

Basin   in the secondary drainage system of the Fraser river,

Region between Alexandria and Prince George, those of the Nechako below Fort Fraser, Stuart river below Tacla lake, and the entire drainage basin of the Fraser between Prince George and the Bear river, has, generally, a lower elevation than the western and southern portion of the plateau, and possesses also better soil conditions and a heavier precipitation. These conditions also extend over the upper portion of Babine lake and the drainage basin of the Parsnip river, above and including the Nation river. While there are drainage divides and isolated hills, having an elevation of over 3,000 feet, the general elevation of these basins is less than 3,000.

While dependable records are not available, it is believed that the annual precipitation is everywhere over 20 inches and, in places, reaches 30 inches. The winters are long and cold, and the snowfall heavy, but the long days of this northern latitude apparently make the growing season as favourable to forest growth as the climates of more southern latitudes. The favourable climatic conditions, taken in connection with the deep soil, result in the formation of a very dense forest with a remarkable yield, considering the latitude. As in all the dense forests of the province, there is a very heavy accumulation of dead vegetable material, which effectually prevents regeneration of the most desirable species.

The forest of the region is made up of a number of sub-types. Spruce occurs everywhere in admixture, and frequently in nearly pure stands, the only other species appearing with it being balsam. On good areas these spruce stands run as high as 20,000 feet per acre, 10,000 feet being common. Lodgepole pine is found over the entire region, either in pure stands or in admixture with spruce, balsam and fir. Its presence, however, on all but the drier soils is due to fire, since it reseeds immediately and forms a reserve crop for the spruce.

Douglas fir is, or once was, a constituent of the stand on all well drained lands below an elevation of 2,500 feet, but fires have removed it from all but the drier sites. The individual development of all species is excellent, spruce and Douglas fir frequently reaching 30 inches diameter and 100 feet in height. Stands of 10,000 and 20,000 feet per acre are not rare, and, as an annual yield of 100 feet per acre can be expected on the good soiled lands below 2,500 feet altitude, the region is an important and valuable one for the production of timber.


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