Ecological Issues Related to Second-growth Boreal Forest Management in Eastern Quebec, Canada: Expert Perspectives from a Delphi Process

Kaysandra Waldron
Nelson Thiffault
Frédéric Bujold
Jean-Claude Ruel
Jean-Martin Lussier
Dominique Boucher
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The Eastern boreal forests of Quebec, Canada, have been extensively harvested over the past decades. Second growth stands originating from sites harvested between 1920 and 1950 will soon reach the stage allowing for a second harvest. In order to guide the decision-makers responsible for ecosystem-based management of these forests, their specific management issues must be identified, based on the best knowledge available. In this context, we used the Delphi method and asked experts to identify and prioritize the main ecological issues related to the management of second-growth forests. Fourteen experts participated in at least one round of the process, out of an initial population of 30 known experts. After three rounds of questions, experts identified the maintenance of old-growth forests as the most important issue related to second-growth forest management in this region. The protection of woodland caribou and its habitat, and land fragmentation by forest roads were the second and third most important issues identified by the Delphi survey participants. These issues are not unique to second-growth forests, but should be given priority in considering management strategies associated with second-growth stands.