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The effects of Linear Developments on Wildlife: A Review of Selected Scientific Literature.
Jalkotzy, M. G., Ross, P. I., and Nasserden, M. D.
This report is a reference to be used when information is required regarding the effects of linear development on wildlife. It is divided into a number of sections. The basis of the literature review was an electronic search of biological and related electronic databases. The scope of this research is detailed in Section 2. Since the basis for understanding the effects of linear developments on wildlife is the ecology of landscapes, Sections 3 provides an introduction to the basic concepts of landscape ecology and Section 4 outlines the major functions of disturbance corridors. The effects of linear developments on wildlife can be divided into 6 major groupings, and these are outlined in Section 5. Section 6 examines the effects of linear corridors from the perspective of corridor type. Sections 5 and 6 are meant to be brief overviews of their respective topics. Section 7 forms the bulk of the report and examines, in detail, the effects of linear developments on different wildlife species and species groups. Large mammals are dealt with at the species level, whereas medium-sized carnivores are dealt with as a group, as are birds. The final section, Section 8, briefly reviews mitigative measures currently in use.
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.
Moose Alces alces behaviour related to human activity
The spatiotemporal dynamics of human activity requires a better understanding of the ecological effects on wildlife. This thesis focuses on the behavioural response of a harvested species, moose (Alces alces), to dynamic human activities e.g. hunting and recreation, and to static influences like roads, using experimental and descriptive approaches. Potentially lethal (hunting) and non-lethal (hiking, snowmobiling) activities provoked short-lived increases in moose movement activity and caused spatial displacement. The data suggests a uniform response towards unexpected disturbance and that moose are sensitive to human proximity. Hunting clearly provoked the strongest response. Moose approached by a hunting dog commonly fled, suggesting adjustments in anti-predator behaviour towards a nonnative predator. This may lead to predator facilitation where wolves and human predation co-exist, because the moose’s behavioural response towards one predator possibly increases the predation risk by the other. Unexpectedly, hiking and motordriven (snowmobiling) recreational activity caused a comparable change in moose behaviour. The short-lived response towards dynamic human activities indicates a rather minor impact on moose total energy budget from a single disturbance. Moose seldom crossed roads, but did increasingly so during migration. Roadcrossing sites were aggregated, suggesting well established travel routes and corridors for migratory moose. Moose did not cross roads more often during hunting season. In general, moose little utilized habitats in proximity to roads. Moose-vehicle collisions did not occur where and when moose most commonly cross roads. My results suggest a higher risk to human safety during times of poor visibility and close to urban areas, but not necessarily in the vicinity of forests. For wildlife subject to intensive harvest and sensitive to human proximity, I emphasize the need to include animal behavioural, landscape ecological, political as well as socio-economical aspects for future research concerning human-wildlife interactions. I also recommend future research to combine wildlife movement data from active tracking sensors such as GPS-collars together with collision data to improve conclusions about wildlife movement corridors and traffic risk zones.
Quantifying barrier effects of roads and seismic lines on movements of female woodland caribou in northeastern Alberta
Simon J. Dyer, Jack P. O’Neill, Shawn M. Wasel, and Stan Boutin
Linear developments such as roads, seismic lines, and pipeline rights-of-way are common anthropogenic features in the boreal forest of Alberta. These features may act as barriers to the movement of threatened woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou). Thirty-six woodland caribou were captured and fitted with global positioning system collars. These collared caribou yielded 43 415 locations during the 12-month study period. We compared rates of crossing roads and seismic lines with rates at which caribou crossed simulated roads and seismic lines created using ArcInfo GIS. Seismic lines were not barriers to caribou movements, whereas roads with moderate vehicle traffic acted as semipermeable barriers to caribou movements. The greatest barrier effects were evident during late winter, when caribou crossed actual roads 6 times less frequently than simulated road networks. Semipermeable barrier effects may exacerbate functional habitat loss demonstrated through avoidance behaviour. This novel approach represents an important development in the burgeoning field of road ecology and has great potential for use in validating animal-movement models.
Institutional requirements for watershed cumulative effects assessment and management: Lessons from a Canadian trans-boundary watershed
Poornima Sheelanere, Bram F. Noble, Robert J. Patrick
Watersheds are under increasing stress from the cumulative environmental effects of water and land use disturbances caused by both anthropogenic and natural causes. Yet, while the science of watershed cumulative effects assessment and management (CEAM) is advancing much less is known about the institutional and capacity requirements to implement and sustain watershed CEAM. Based on lessons from a transboundary watershed in western Canada this paper presents eight institutional requirements, or requisites, for the implementation of watershed-based CEAM. We suggest that effective watershed CEAM requires government leadership to move beyond the current inward focus on project approvals toward an outward focus on the cumulative effects of all disturbances in a watershed; complementary monitoring programs at the project and watershed scale, and a means to ensure the sharing of monitoring data across watershed stakeholders; and a nested planning framework to coordinate watershed planning objectives with individual project impact assessment and decision making. Results of this paper show that simply scaling up from individual project-based assessments to the watershed scale exposes many institutional constraints that can impede CEAM action.
The Anthropocene: From Global Change to Planetary Stewardship
Will Steffen, A ° sa Persson, Lisa Deutsch, Jan Zalasiewicz, Mark Williams, Katherine Richardson, Ca
Over the past century, the total material wealth of humanity has been enhanced. However, in the twentyfirst century, we face scarcity in critical resources, the degradation of ecosystem services, and the erosion of the planet’s capability to absorb our wastes. Equity issues remain stubbornly difficult to solve. This situation is novel in its speed, its global scale and its threat to the resilience of the Earth System. The advent of the Anthropence, the time interval in which human activities now rival global geophysical processes, suggests that we need to fundamentally alter our relationship with the planet we inhabit. Many approaches could be adopted, ranging from geoengineering solutions that purposefully manipulate parts of the Earth System to becoming active stewards of our own life support system. The Anthropocene is a reminder that the Holocene, during which complex human societies have developed, has been a stable, accommodating environment and is the only state of the Earth System that we know for sure can support contemporary society. The need to achieve effective planetary stewardship is urgent. As we go further into the Anthropocene, we risk driving the Earth System onto a trajectory toward more hostile states from which we cannot easily return.
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.
Leverage Points: Places to intervene in a system
Donella H. Meadows
What you are about to read is a work in progress. It's not a simple, sure-fire recipe for finding leverage points. Rather, it's an invitation to think more broadly about the many ways there might be to get systems to change.
Triage for conserving populations of threatened species: The case of woodland caribou in Alberta
Richard R. Schneider, Grant Hauer, W.L. (Vic) Adamowicz, Stan Boutin
Prioritization of conservation efforts for threatened and endangered species has tended to focus on factors measuring the risk of extirpation rather than the probability of success and cost. Approaches such as triage are advisable when three main conditions are present: insufficient capacity exists to adequately treat all patients, patients are in a critical state and cannot wait until additional capacity becomes available, and patients differ in their likely outcome and/or the amount of treatment they require. The objective of our study was to document the status of woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus) herds in Alberta, Canada, with respect to these three conditions and to determine whether a triage approach might be warranted. To do this we modeled three types of recovery effort – protection, habitat restoration, and wolf control – and estimated the opportunity cost of recovery for each herd. We also assessed herds with respect to a suite of factors linked to long-term viability. We found that all but three herds will decline to critical levels (<10 animals) within approximately 30 years if current population trends continue. The opportunity cost of protecting all ranges by excluding new development, in terms of the net present value of petroleum and forestry resources, was estimated to be in excess of 100 billion dollars (assuming no substitution of activity outside of the ranges). A habitat restoration program applied to all ranges would cost several hundred million dollars, and a provincial-scale wolf control program would cost tens of millions of dollars. Recovery costs among herds varied by an order of magnitude. Herds also varied substantially in terms of their potential viability. These findings suggest that woodland caribou in Alberta meet the conditions whereby triage should be considered as an appropriate conservation strategy.