Land-Use References

Year Title (Author, Description) File Download

Modelling potential effects of angling on recovery of westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi) in Alberta

Michael Sullivan

Alberta’s native form of cutthroat trout, westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi), was listed in 2006 as a threatened species under the federal Species at Risk Act. Amongst other legal requirements, this action requires that an assessment of threats be conducted to determine what activities are acceptable and unacceptable with respect to the maintenance and recovery of populations of these fish. Sport angling for cutthroat trout and other species is a popular activity throughout this fish’s habitat in Alberta and has the potential to harm this species’ recovery. To investigate this potential harm, the possible effects of a variety of angling scenarios (e.g., different levels of angler effort and regulations) on stream populations of cutthroat trout were simulated using a population dynamics computer model. The results of these simulations suggested that recovery of depressed cutthroat trout populations could occur under scenarios of limited and low angler effort, and no directed harvest (i.e., catch-and-release angling). Once recovered, however, healthy populations of westslope cutthroat trout may be maintained with catch-and-release angling with moderate fishing effort. Angling regulations that allow harvest of cutthroat trout are unlikely to either maintain or recover most populations unless angler effort is controlled. Incidental mortality (either through accidental hooking mortality or illegal harvest through misidentification of trout species) in these simulations was an important factor in population maintenance and recovery. This suggests that minimizing these sources of mortality may be an important management concern for this species.

Contact ALCES for Michael Sullivan, 2007

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.

Contact ALCES for Steve Kennett and Rick Schneider, 2008

Potential of Rangelands to Sequester Carbon in Alberta

Eric Bremer

Contact ALCES for Eric Bremer, 2008

Better Farming; Better Air

H.H. Janzen, R.L. Desjardins, P. Rochette, M. Boehm and D. Worth

Review of agricultural practices and their contributions to GHG

Contact ALCES for H.H. Janzen, R.L. Desjardins, P. Rochette, M. Boehm and D. Worth, 2008

Quantification of Extinction Risk: IUCN’s System for Classifying Threatened Species

G. Mace, N. Collar, K. Gaston, C. Milner-Gulland, and S. Stuart

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species was increasingly used during the 1980s to assess the conservation status of species for policy and planning purposes. This use stimulated the development of a new set of quantitative criteria for listing species in the categories of threat: critically endangered, endangered, and vulnerable. These criteria, which were intended to be applicable to all species except microorganisms, were part of a broader system for classifying threatened species and were fully implemented by IUCN in 2000. The system and the criteria have been widely used by conservation practitioners and scientists and now underpin one indicator being used to assess the Convention on Biological Diversity 2010 biodiversity target. We describe the process and the technical background to the IUCN Red List system. The criteria refer to fundamental biological processes underlying population decline and extinction. But given major differences between species, the threatening processes affecting them, and the paucity of knowledge relating to most species, the IUCN system had to be both broad and flexible to be applicable to the majority of described species. The system was designed to measure the symptoms of extinction risk, and uses 5 independent criteria relating to aspects of population loss and decline of range size. A species is assigned to a threat category if it meets the quantitative threshold for at least one criterion. The criteria and the accompanying rules and guidelines used by IUCN are intended to increase the consistency, transparency, and validity of its categorization system, but it necessitates some compromises that affect the applicability of the system and the species lists that result. In particular, choices were made over the assessment of uncertainty, poorly known species, depleted species, population decline, restricted ranges, and rarity; all of these affect the way red lists should be viewed and used. Processes related to priority setting and the development of national red lists need to take account of some assumptions in the formulation of the criteria.

Contact ALCES for G. Mace, N. Collar, K. Gaston, C. Milner-Gulland, and S. Stuart, 2008


Manitoba Cattle Producers Association

This document is provided to the Government of Manitoba as a recommended roadmap for establishing a province-wide social and ecological goods and services payment program for the agricultural sector in Manitoba. The proposal presented herein is based on the growing international policy consensus that domestic farm policies need to be adjusted to better reflect the multifunctional role of agriculture as not only an economic activity but also as a larger environmental and social activity. This world-wide re-interpretation of agriculture has resulted in the re-instrumentation of domestic agri-environmental and rural development policies internationally, with a decisive turn towards the use of financial incentives to reward agricultural producers for their on-going provision of ecological and social good and services to the remainder of society. The recommended approach is the creation of a Manitoba Environmental and Rural Stewardship Program – a unified provincial policy instrument capable of delivering modular, staged, and ‘trade-green’ remuneration for the multiple public good functions of agriculture which have historically been subject to market failure. Shaped in the context of the experiences and lessons learned from various pilot projects in Canada and the many ecological/social goods and services programs already existing thought the world, the proposed program seeks to optimize the aggregate supply of agricultural commodities, ecological goods and services, and social benefits produced by rural Manitoba. It is MCPA’s view that sufficient information and data are available today to begin the staged transition from the original ALUS pilot project to the adoption of a province-wide stewardship payment program that works for all of agriculture in Manitoba.

Contact ALCES for Manitoba Cattle Producers Association, 2008

Sediment Production and Delivery from Forest Roads and Off-Highway Vehicle Trails in the Upper South Platte River Watershed, Colorado

Matthew J. Welsh

Sediment is a principal cause of impairment to surface water quality. Erosion is a particularly important environmental issue in the Upper South Platte River (USPR) watershed of Colorado because it is the primary source of drinking water for Denver, has a high-value fishery, and several stream reaches are impaired by high levels of sediment. Unpaved roads are often considered a dominant source of sediment in forested watersheds, and off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails are another potentially important but largely unquantified sediment source. The objectives of this study were to: (1) quantify sediment production and delivery from forest road and OHV trail segments in the USPR watershed; (2) test the accuracy of WEPP:Road, SEDMODL2, and two empirical models for predicting sediment production from roads and OHV trails; and (3) compare sediment production, sediment delivery, and sediment yields from forest roads and OHV trails. Rainfall, site characteristics, and sediment production were measured on 14-22 native surface road segments from 2001 to 2006, and these data were used to test the accuracy of WEPP:Road and SEDMODL2. Empirical models for predicting storm-based and annual sediment production were developed from the first four years of data; the last two years of data were used for model testing. Similar measurements on 5-10 OHV trail segments from 2005 to 2006 were used to test WEPP:Road and SEDMODL2. Sediment delivery was assessed by detailed surveys along 17 km of roads and 10 km of OHV trails. In 2006 mean sediment production from the 10 OHV trail segments was 18.5 kg m-2 yr-1, or six times the mean value from the 21 road segments. The percentage of OHV trails connected to streams was 24%, or 70% higher than for roads, largely because more OHV trails were in the valley bottoms. None of the models accurately predicted sediment production from roads or OHV trails, but the performance of SEDMODL2 was greatly improved by calibrating the geology and traffic factors to the study area. SEDMODL2 also could be improved by adjusting the slope factor, better accounting for rill density on native surface roads, and making the rainfall factor dependent on rainfall erosivity rather than rainfall depth. WEPP:Road could be improved by making sediment production decrease rather than increase with higher soil rock content, and increasing the effect of a categorical change from no traffic to low traffic. Road density in the study area is 0.6 km km-2, or three times the density of OHV trails. Multiplying unit area sediment production normalized by summer erosivity times the density, mean active width, and percent connectivity indicates that roads and OHV trails are respectively delivering approximately 1.1 Mg km-2 and 0.8 Mg km-2 of sediment to the stream network per year. Sediment delivery to streams can be reduced by locating roads and OHV trails out of valley bottoms and off steep hillslopes, decreasing segment lengths, and reducing segment slopes.

Contact ALCES for Matthew J. Welsh, 2008

Modeling Cumulative Effects in Barren-ground Caribou Range: Proceedings of a Workshop in Yellowknife

Jan Adamczewski, John Nishi, Anne Gunn, Terry Antoniuk, Chris Johnson, Don Russell, Ted Blondin, All

In the early 2000s, most herds of barren-ground caribou in the Northwest Territories (NWT) were declining. The declines aroused considerable concern in NWT communities because caribou have been a resource of great value to people in the north for many generations. Possible explanations for the declines include a natural cycle, variation in weather and forage conditions, predation, hunting, disease, and industrial development. Of these factors, some are beyond immediate control, but effects due to direct human influence, like hunting and development, can be managed. The impact of development on caribou is usually not due to single roads, mines, cut-blocks or seismic lines, rather it is the cumulative effects of many habitat alterations over time that affect caribou numbers and distribution. Concerns over effects of development on caribou have been raised in environmental assessments and particularly by aboriginal groups for many years, but progress on assessing them has been limited. To be objective, assessment of cumulative effects must account for other factors, including hunting and natural variation in weather. Due to the need for overall knowledge of a caribou herd‟s complex ecology in assessing cumulative effects, biologists have turned to computer models to help track multiple variables and relationships, and to look at “what if” simulations. While these models cannot predict the future, they can help users understand how various factors interact and what likely consequences of particular management decisions might be. In the 2006-2010 NWT Caribou Management Strategy, a commitment was made by the Government of the Northwest Territories to developing a modeling approach that could assess development in its proper context of natural variation. In this report we summarized the presentations and participant responses at a public workshop held in February 2008, Yellowknife, NWT, on modeling cumulative effects in the range of the Bathurst herd. In addition, we report on progress towards a demonstration project initiated at the February 2008 workshop.

Contact ALCES for Jan Adamczewski, John Nishi, Anne Gunn, Terry Antoniuk, Chris Johnson, Don Russell, Ted Blondin, All, 2008

Ecological Infrastructure Mapping - Southern Alberta Region

02 Planning + Design Inc.

An assessment of ecosystem goods and services (EGS) in southern Alberta was initiated in 2006 by Alberta Environment. Ecosystem services are the conditions and processes through which natural ecosystems, and the species that make them up, sustain and fulfill human life (Daily 1997). The current study builds on the first two project phases by expanding the discussion of landscape patterns required to sustain the provision of ecosystem goods and services based on an identification of ecological infrastructure in the Southern Alberta region. Ecological infrastructure refers to the core features of a network that provides ecosystem services (Tzoulas et al. 2007): in this case, in the Southern Alberta region. At a regional scale, it includes the system of structural and functional terrestrial and aquatic landscape features such as clean water and habitat (Quinn, unpublished work, 2007). Components of ecological infrastructure chosen for mapping in the scope and scale of the current project include: 1. Stream corridors 2. Natural vegetation patches and stepping stones 3. Waterbody complexes 4. Areas of high species richness potential 5. Alluvial soils 6. Unique land cover types or areas GIS models were created in ArcGIS 9.2 to support the identification and mapping of ecological infrastructure components. The stream corridors map showed a high density of stream corridors in the forested landscapes to the west and southeast; very few corridors exist in the central Southern Alberta region. The largest patches of natural vegetation over 10 000 ha in size are located in the southeast and northeast. The central part of Southern Alberta has few large patches of natural vegetation, and those that remain in this area will be regionally valuable. The greatest concentration of waterbody complexes is in the northeast portion of Southern Alberta, which has a number of small complexes of standing water. When the top five classes (highest 50%) of species rich areas were selected, grasslands, forests, riparian areas and wetland cover types were picked out. Alluvial soils were found to be concentrated near the base of the Rocky Mountains along the western border of Southern Alberta. Unique land cover types including ridges and low percentage cover types were mapped, but ridges were difficult to analyze at this scale. A combined map of all ecological infrastructure components was created in which each pixel was assigned a sum value of each ecological infrastructure component it included. The high value of several landscape units to overall regional ecological infrastructure was evident. To identify the areas of coincidence between ecological infrastructure and a spatial representation of ecosystem services in the region, the ecological infrastructure was analyzed against a map representing areas with high importance to the provision of ecosystem services. O2 Planning + Design Inc. – DRAFT ii The ecological infrastructure was found to encompass 99.6% of all areas identified as high ecosystem service provision. In terms of the condition of ecosystem services, those areas of high service provision that are coincident with ecological infrastructure are most likely to be in good condition through landscape connections and within large natural patches that promote functioning ecological processes. For future application, each component of ecological infrastructure can be mapped on smaller scales, depending on the desired objectives. These processes and models can therefore support informed land use planning in the region.

Contact ALCES for 02 Planning + Design Inc., 2008

Lake Simcoe Basin’s Natural Capital: The Value of the Watershed’s Ecosystem Services

Sara J. Wilson

This study quantifies the natural capital value of the ecosystem goods and services provided by Lake Simcoe’s watershed, a section of which is located in Ontario’s Greenbelt. At a minimum estimated worth of $975 million per year, the services provided by the watershed are worth $2,780 to each of the 350,000 permanent residents annually. This study represents the first application of this methodology to a watershed in southern Ontario. Goods and services provided by ecosystems are traditionally undervalued as they go unmeasured by conventional economics. These benefits include storage of floodwaters by wetlands, air pollution absorption, climate regulation, pollination of crops and water filtration, resulting in clean air and water and safe and abundant local food sources. In order to measure the value of these benefits, this study first describes the watershed’s natural assets – that is, the extent of the forests, wetlands, grasslands, water bodies, agricultural lands and urban or built-up areas. Then, using market-determined values (e.g. the avoided increased costs of a man-made water filtration service as a proxy for the existing capabilities of a natural system to filter water), the study was able to quantify many of the goods and services that are provided by the watershed.

Contact ALCES for Sara J. Wilson, 2008
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