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Logging to Supply Timber vs. Logging to Supply Water Is there a Difference?
In all of the long-drawn-out, at times acrimonious disputes over logging in Alberta’s southern Eastern Slopes, one question has continued to baffle observers. Why has the Alberta government, despite all of the mounting opposition, been so determined to push ahead with logging these precious watersheds when the economic benefits are so minimal and the environmental costs so high? One possible answer to that question has been hinted at in recent comments from government spokesmen in the media. What if the government is indeed logging full speed to maximize resource extraction from the forest, but the primary focus is not on the production of timber, but on the production of water? If you have a tunnel-vision focus on managing forests to supply one thing – be it timber or water – then other things, including wildlife and recreation are likely to suffer. This seems to be the case in Alberta.
Ecosystem Goods and Services Southern Alberta: A Framework for Assessing Natural Asset Condition
02 Planning + Design Inc.
Society’s well-being, to a large extent, is underpinned by a wide range of Ecosystem Goods and Services (EGS) that are provided by natural assets. These include: provision of clean air and water;-- water storage and flood control;-- carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas regulation;-- pollination of crops and native vegetation; and-- the fulfillment of cultural, spiritual, and recreational needs.-- The transfer of EGS to future generations is compromised if land use planning does not prevent the degradation and loss of natural assets in the landscape. Alberta’s new Land Use Framework (LUF) provides opportunities to address interactions between society, nature, and EGS to promote sustainable development. The ecosystem services concept frames land use planning and natural resource management issues to explicitly link ecosystems and human welfare. This provides decision makers with more information to help them achieve an appropriate balance between the many costs and benefits of land use decision-making. Building on previous work, this report contributes to this process by identifying indicators of natural asset conditions, linking these indicators to ecosystem services, and suggesting a methodology for assessment in a land use planning context. Several key findings should be highlighted from the literature review. One prevalent theme suggests that focusing management efforts on provisioning services (i.e., crops, timber, fossil fuels) often results in tradeoffs where other ecosystem services are degraded as a consequence. Another key theme is the importance of multi-scale approaches to ecosystem service assessments (e.g., regional, landscape, watershed, site). A third key finding is the lack of available biophysical methodologies to quantify ecosystem service magnitudes, as most quantification studies utilize economic valuation techniques. In addition, appropriate thresholds and targets are rarely identified through scientific research, although some science-based targets have been identified for wetland cover (3% to 7% of a watershed), impervious surfaces (<10% of a watershed), riparian buffer widths, and road densities. In most cases, target-setting requires integration of science and societal valuation. The landscape context also must be considered when setting targets, as appropriate values often vary considerably throughout a given region. Building on the information gained from the literature review, this report identifies a suite of indicators to assess ecosystem conditions and related services at multiple scales. Six criteria were used to assess the suitability of indicators: comprehensibility for both professionals and the lay public; -- range of applicability to multiple ecosystem services;-- responsiveness to management practices; -- measurability of cost effectiveness; -- ease of integration with existing programs and data; and, -- relevance within land use planning (predictable in scenario modelling --and related to published scientific thresholds).
Energy and the Alberta Economy: Past and Future Impacts and Implications
Robert L. Mansell, Ron Schlenker
Alberta is in many respects at a crossroads. On the one hand complacency will almost certainly mean a dimming of the province’s long-term prosperity. Declines in the conventional oil and gas sector will significantly dampen growth and prosperity. There are no other sectors of the province’s economic base that could realistically expand sufficiently to offset significant declines in the dominant energy sector. On the other hand, visionary, strategic investments today can unlock non-conventional and other energy resources critical to securing a strong and prosperous long-term, sustainable future for the province. It is in this context that ISEEE has undertaken a series of papers focused on Alberta’s energy futures. The intent is to take a longer term look at the challenges, opportunities and choices and what they mean for Alberta’s future. This first paper provides both a retrospective and a prospective overview of the impacts of the oil and gas sector. It is intended to frame and highlight the longer term issues and provide an anchor for more detailed analysis in subsequent papers.
Application of a GIS for simulating hydrological responses in developing regions
Stefan W. Kienzle
Present capturing, processing and manipulation of spatial data and information as well as coupling processes between the ARC/INFO GIS and the ACRU HMS (Agricultural Catchment Research Unit) is demonstrated for the Mgeni basin in Natal, South Africa.
Alberta By Design: A Blueprint for an Effective Land-Use Framework
Steve Kennett and Rick Schneider
Alberta is at a turning point with respect to land and resource management. There is a broad consensus among Albertans familiar with land-use issues in the province that the current system of planning and decision-making urgently needs an overhaul. This report, by the Pembina Institute and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, presents a practical and solutions- oriented blueprint for a new Land-Use Framework.
Alberta Traffic Collision Statistics
Alberta Transportation Office of Traffic Safety
The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, “why”, and “how” of traffic collisions which occurred in Alberta during 2010. Although the report is general in nature, it pays particular attention to casualty collisions, that is, those collisions which result in death or injury. Legislation in Alberta requires that a traffic collision, which results in either death, injury or property damage to an apparent extent of $1000.00 or more, be reported immediately to an authorized peace officer. The officer completes a standardized collision report form which provides information on various aspects of the traffic collision. This report is based on the data collected from these report forms. The collision report form is issued with standard instructions to every police service within Alberta, to be completed by the officer attending the scene of a motor vehicle collision or at a police station. Police priorities at the scene of a collision are to care for the injured, protect the motoring public and clear the roadway. Completion of the collision report form is a secondary, but necessary task. After completion, the information on the collision report form is coded for input to computer files. The Alberta Collision Information System, which has been operational since 1978, undergoes several manual and computerized inspections each year in order to ensure maximum accuracy of the final data output. This collision information is used to make Alberta’s roads safer for all road users. Due to continuing police investigation, some numbers presented in this report may be subject to revision. It should also be noted that not all percentage columns will total 100 due to rounding error. This report was produced based on collisions reported to Alberta Transportation by police, at the time of printing. The numbers presented in this report will not be updated. However, the patterns and trends detailed in this report represent an accurate description of Alberta’s traffic collision picture.
Alberta Traffic Collision Statistics
Alberta Transportation Office of Traffic Safety
The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, “why”, and “how” of traffic collisions which occurred in Alberta during 2010. Although the report is general in nature, it pays particular attention to casualty collisions, that is, those collisions which result in death or injury. Legislation in Alberta requires that a traffic collision, which results in either death, injury or property damage to an apparent extent of $1000.00 or more, be reported immediately to an authorized peace officer. The officer completes a standardized collision report form which provides information on various aspects of the traffic collision. This report is based on the data collected from these report forms.
Collisions between Wildlife and Vehicles in Alberta
RESPONSE OF A WINTERING MOOSE POPULATION TO ACCESS MANAGEMENT AND NO HUNTING – A MANITOBA EXPERIMENT
Vince Crichton, Trevor Barker, and Doug Schindler
We report on an experiment undertaken in eastern Manitoba beginning in 1996, in which a moose population wintering in 62 km2 (24.2 mi2)was protected from hunting until September 2003. At the time of closure, it is speculated that about 37 (0.6/km2 (1.5/mi2)) moose wintered in the area based on aerial surveys and considering visibility bias. The closure was supported by the Eastern Region Committee for Moose Management, which is comprised of Manitoba Conservation staff, First Nation representatives from local communities, local hunting organizations, and other interest groups such as Tembec Manitoba Incorporated and the Manitoba Model Forest. Road access to the area was curtailed by using locked gates, millstones, and V-plowing a portion of the road in 2002. The area was surveyed from a helicopter on March 4, 2003, and 107 moose were counted in the closed area and again, based on visibility bias, it is speculated that about 142 moose (2.3/km2 (5.8/mi2 )) were present. This experiment clearly demonstrates that moose will respond positively to access management and no hunting, and that V-plowing roadbeds is a useful technique for controlling access. The cost associated with such plowing varies from about $500-$1,500/km depending on material contained in the roadbed.
Modeling Rangeland Community Structure in ALCES Southern Alberta Sustainability Strategy (SASS)
Barry Adams and Brad Stelfox
Rangeland communities are not constant in structure (physiognomy), but change through time as they grow older, or when they are disturbed by various natural processes including fire, drought, and herbivory. Unlike forest communities, rangelands do not have to be reset to the youngest seral stage when they are affected by a natural disturbance. Instead, structural change varies depending on the intensity of the disturbance. The purpose of modeling rangeland in SASS is to simulate and compare rangeland structure under various future land use and development scenarios, and to use these results in modeling changes to wildlife habitat values. Modeling in SASS is at a regional scale and is over a 50-year time period. The study area is more or less comprised of the South Saskatchewan watershed, which is about 20% of the total area of Alberta.