Author Archives: sayena sadeghi

PRIORITIZING ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION SITES

Prioritizing Ecological Restoration Sites in Hope, BC

This is a research project I conducted myself for a class. It aims to map sites in district of Hope located in Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD), British Columbia that have the highest priority for ecological restoration. All of FVRD’s environment is vulnerable to farming and growing development, therefore, needs protection as well as restoration for a sustainable future. Several organizations such as Fraser Valley Watershed Coalition are working towards the goal to restore and enhance FVRD’s ecology; however, there are no projects underway in Hope. I have used GIS and literature review to identify sites in Hope that have the potential to succeed in ecological restoration and would be the most efficient to implement. Though this project requires further studies as this topic is complex and requires systems thinking.

Here‘s the link the project website.

https://blogs.ubc.ca/fvrdecores/

BRIEF PERSONAL REFLECTION ON THE COURSE

This course (GEOB 270) contributed to my future career plans of becoming a landscape architect. I came out of this course with basic knowledge of GIS analysis tools and improved skills in spatial thinking. But I learned more than just theories and instructions; I also learned more about myself. I realized applying my knowledge to projects teaches me more than reading page after page and memorizing theory after theory.

THE TRUE AREA OF AGRICULTURAL LAND RESERVE: CARIBOO

For our final project of the course we worked in groups of four. I worked with three other girls: Hannah, Linnea and Karmina. My goal for this project was to get more comfortable with finding data sets appropriate for GIS analysis and also to learn more about Agricultural Land Reserves (ALR). I was able to achieve my goals with help from my teammates by the end of the project. We prepared a thorough report of our analysis and here’s a brief summary of our project:

The British Columbia Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is a system that classifies and preserves potential agricultural land. However, the ALR is not as accurate as necessary for this system to be beneficial. For example, features such as residential homes, water features, protected forests, and oil wells at times fall into the ALR and are not removed from the overall area. Issues such as these make the ALR less accurate than it should be.The goal of this project was to analyze the ALR within BC, in particular the Cariboo region, and calculate how much of the ALR is actually used for its purpose. From our analysis, we estimate that the actual area of land suitable for agriculture is 1.29 ha, and is 0.00002% of the entire Cariboo region. We determined this value by eliminating parks, buildings, aboriginal land reserves, and land cover that is not annual or perennial crops and pastures. To do so, we made about a dozen maps of the areas we eliminated and showed the suitable area for agriculture in the final map (Figure 1) in addition to the steps we took for each map in our flowchart (Figure 2). 

Map 8 final proj

Figure 1 – Final map

final flowchart

Figure 2 – Flowchart

Producing about a dozen maps was a very tedious job. My teammates and I spend hours and hours to find accurate data and to fix them for our analysis. Sometimes we found the data that were incomplete and we had to look even more. It was very very very frustrating but we managed to get all the data we need with a lot of help from our instructors and TA . By our third meeting we realized it’s more efficient to work in pairs so we split for the remaining maps. We communicated through Facebook and Google Documents. All my team members worked very hard to get our results and I thank every single one of them.

I learned a lot from this project from facts about ALR’s to GIS tools and techniques. Here are 5 most important / interesting things I learned from this projects:

  • All the area reserved for ALR is not actually suitable for farming
  • The ALR areas are not just dedicated to agriculture. They contain various land uses
  • I worked with some new GIS tools like slope analysis and reclassify
  • I understood the difference between union and merge
  • I realized most of the work in a GIS project is finding appropriate data and not the analysis
  • I realized more people in the team means better results and that communication is key in teamwork

MOVING FORWARD: ALGONQUIN PARK, ON

(This section was done in a collaborative group work. Other contributors are Amanda Bulmer, Kiana Bridges, and Mengjia Ding.)

New Forest Practices Model

As concerned members of the conservationist community, we suggest putting forward a New Forest Practices Model (NFPM). The goal of the NFPM is to help lower the ecological footprint caused by the effects of forest harvesting on Algonquin Provincial Park’s biodiversity, which in turn would protect the traditional lands of the Algonquin First Nations. In an effort to make our proposed model reasonable and realistic, we have carefully taken into consideration the values and needs of the many stakeholders in a collaborative effort to lower the ecological footprint of Algonquin Park in the future. The effects of forestry in the Park are followed by a combination of scientific uncertainty and a conflict in values, making it a wicked problem. Our proposed model attempts to balance the integrity of the Park while maintaining economic stability. It focuses on hard-to-solve issues such as constantly changing policies, forestry practices, and the byproducts of forest harvesting such as it’s accompanied logging roads and hydrological impacts. The New Forest Practices Model suggests the destruction and rehabilitation of abandoned logging roads, more sustainable forestry practices, a minimization of hydrological impacts, and various policy amendments all in an amalgamated effort attempting to lower the ecological footprint of Algonquin Provincial Park.

In an effort to save jobs and maintain Ontario’s GDP, our proposed NFPM has chosen to allow for the sustainable-logging to continue in the park. The techniques used in Algonquin Park’s forest harvesting are some of the most closely researched, cutting-edge, and sustainable methods that have been observed in the forestry industry up-to-date. The procedures used are said to mimic nature’s natural cycle of survival of the fittest (Algonquin Eco Watch, 2010). The AFA claims that they only harvest those trees that pose an immediate risk to humans, or those that would naturally be subjected to natural effects such as windstorms or lightning (2010). This implies that the direct impacts of forestry in the Park are not the immediate cause for the destruction of the ecosystem’s biodiversity. Rather that the indirect negative effects of logging such as roads are to blame.

Road Impacts

Algonquin Park contains more than 2000 km of road purely designated for logging (Zanussi, 2009). After an area has been logged, the roads are abandoned and are left as the destructive symbols of human impact. The damage caused by these abandoned logging roads includes an unstable and thinning soil, and also the depletion of nutrient-dense topsoil that allows for the growth of flora, including the newly planted tree seedlings.

Our proposed NFPM suggests the permanent biotransformation of abandoned logging roads. It is a quick and simple solution to improve the current situation and hopefully undo some of the damage. The biotransformation includes placing hog-fuel from the forest floor (bark and wood chips) onto the logging roads in combination with decomposition-aiding agents such as fungi, to help stimulate the new growth of forest flora. Abandoned logging roads also cause a break in the hydrological cycle, which creates excess runoff water that leads to soil erosion, removal of life-sustaining topsoils, and downstream water sedimentation and siltation (Ruby, 2006). The wood chips placed on the logging roads would not only accelerate decomposition but they would also serve as a filter helping to reduce sedimentation of watersheds downstream. Downfalls to this suggestion include the possible adaptation of the surrounding ecology to the current situation. By covering up the roads with wood chips, we might be destroying preexisting new-growth. Not only would cleaning up the forest floor benefit the rehabilitation of the abandoned logging roads, but also it may prevent forest fires from the accumulation of hog-fuel in the future.

Forestry Practices

The NFPM also recommends minimal construction of new logging roads by implementing more sustainable forestry practices. This includes the enforcement of designated boundaries for timber production, including the expansion of protected areas and the banning of old growth forest deforestation. A settlement would have to be made with the AFA because they are planning an expansion of the current logging roads and the addition of new ones (Algonquin Provincial Park, 2015). The goal of the NFPM would be to prevent logging in new areas to maintain the biodiversity and wellbeing of the forest. Currently the AFA is planting a selection of trees that are homogenous and cater to what sells best on the market (Algonquin Eco Watch, 2010). A more diverse selection of native trees would be beneficial to species at risk and should be planted to help boost the forest’s biodiversity. With today’s modern technology, tools such as GIS can be used to assist in the planning of these decisions. Setbacks of decreasing the area in which tree harvesting takes place might be the adaptation of species who could potentially suffer because the Park forest is now able to grow in a natural way.

Old Growth Forest

We recommend expansion of protected zones, while taking into consideration the impact on current and future wood supply for the forest industry (OP & AFA, 2009). These expansion zones would be chosen based on their contribution to the park’s values, some of which include ecological representation, connectivity between core areas and protecting cultural heritage in addition to impacts on wood supply to mills (OP & AFA, 2009). It is important to add old growth forests in the selection of these protection zones (OP & AFA, 2009). Figure 3 shows that, a significant portion of old growth forests have already been logged in the past and are not protected today. These forests offer unique ecosystem services; as a result, in their absence we would lose species of flora and fauna (Frank et al., 2011). Additionally, old growth forests provide an important reference point for ecological research (Frank et al., 2011).

What differentiates old growth forest from those in the earlier stages of succession is the high diversity of environmental conditions such as microclimates as well as structural elements. The spatiotemporal stability of the microclimates over long time-scales also differentiates old growth forests from young forests (Frank et al., 2011). The complex structure of old growth forests is significant mainly because it provides a wider range of niches available to various species (Frank et al., 2011). The heterogeneity of environmental conditions (or microclimates) nourishes different species with different levels of temperature, light and humidity (Frank et al., 2011). Furthermore, temporal stability, which allows healthy speciation, often disappears when forest is destroyed or heavily altered as a result of human disturbances (Frank et al., 2011). Human impact is not completely reversible (Frank et al., 2011). This is because succession of forests and recolonization of habitat is an extremely slow process dependent on stable environmental conditions (Frank et al., 2011). Although clear-cut logging is extremely harmful to the ecosystems, logging methods that mimic natural disturbances would not damage the environment (Frank et al., 2011).

Hydrological Impacts:

Aquatic ecosystems, in addition to terrestrial, partake in shaping the environment. One of most important ecological services of forests is a sustainable and high quality water supply (Jones et al., 2009). The combination of roads and unsystematic logging can degrade water quality and increase the probability of flooding (Jones et al., 2009). Therefore, protection zones in Algonquin Park should expand to preserve lakes, waterways as well as canoe routes of the park (OP & AFA, 2009). All the water bodies contribute to value of the park in many ways such as enhancing the ecosystems, protecting cultural heritage values, protecting species at risk as well as ecological integrity (OP & AFA, 2009). Specifically, waterways to lake Opeongo and other canoe routes provide recreational and fisheries values(OP & AFA, 2009). In terms of ecological integrity, one particularly significant species at risk in waters of Algonquin Park is Brook Trout, which should be protected by expansion of protection zones and education of visitors (OP & AFA, 2009).

Algonquin Park provides habitat to a high concentration of self-sustaining Brook Trout (OP & AFA, 2009). Brook Trout is on the verge of being listed as an endangered species. It is placed in the higher levels of the food chain in its ecosystem; therefore, its disappearance would harm more species in lower levels than the disappearance of a lower level species would (Cheever & Simon, 2009). Our NFPM suggest implementing “Areas of Concern” or “AOC” around all brook trout lakes in the park (OP & AFA, 2009). The AOC’s restrict construction or reconstruction of roads as well as banning new aggregate pits in the area (OP & AFA, 2009). Moreover, logging in these areas have restrictions to ensure a healthy water ecosystem (OP & AFA, 2009).

References:

Peer Review

Balint, P. J., Stewart, R. E., Desal, A. & Walters, L. C. (2012). Wicked Environmental Problems:   Managing uncertainty and Conflict. Retrieved from:https://books.google.ca/books?id=H_6XyO9rQqgC&printsec=frontcover&dq=wicked+environmental+problems&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAGoVChMI0tKt0qWRyAIV1SmICh2PFwFV#v=onepage&q&f=false

Cheever, B. M., & Simon, K. S. (2009). Seasonal influence of brook trout and mottled sculpin on lower trophic levels in an Appalachian stream. Freshwater Biology, 54, 524-535.

Creasey, M. L. (2013). Black-throated blue warbler (setophaga caerulescens ) nesting success and nest site selection in the single-tree selection harvested forests of algonquin provincial park, canada (Order No. MR93875). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1399560762). Retrieved from:http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/docview/1399560762?accountid=14656

Frank, D., Finckh, M., & With, C. (2009). Impacts of land use in habitat functions of old-growth forests and their biodiversity. In Wirth, C., Gerd, G, & Martin, H (Eds.), Old-Growth Forests: Function, Fate and Value (429 – 450). DEU: Springer. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com

Jones, J. A., Achterman, G. L., Augustine, L. A., Creed, I. F., Ffolliott, P. F. MacDonald, L. & Wemple B. C. (2009). Hydrologic effects of a changing forested landscape: challenges for the hydrological sciences. Wiley InterScience, 23, 2699-2704.

Mancuso, K., Nol, E., Burke, D. & Elliot, K. (2014). Effects of selection logging on Yellow-bellied Sapsucker sap-feeding habits in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 44:10, pp.1236-1243. Retrieved from:http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/full/10.1139/cjfr-2013-0498#.VgTaE2TBzGd

Government Documents

Algonquin Forestry Authority. (2014). Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Policy.Retrieved from http://algonquinforestry.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/AFA-SFM-Policy-March-2014.pdf

Algonquin Forestry Authority. (2015). Forest Management Planning (FMP). Retrieved fromhttp://algonquinforestry.on.ca/policy-planning-sustainable-forest-management-policy/policy-planning-forest-management-planning/

Algonquin Forestry Authority. (2015). Summary of the 2010-2020 Forest Management Plan (FMP) for the Algonquin Park Forest. Retrieved fromhttp://algonquinforestry.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/6.1.20-FMP-Summary-w-Map1.pdf

Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. (2006). Regulating Logging in Algonquin Park, Neglecting our Obligations, ECO Annual Report, 2005-06. Toronto, ON : Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. Eco Issues. Retrieved fromhttp://www.ecoissues.ca/Regulating_Logging_in_Algonquin_Park

Government of Ontario. (2015). Class EA for Forest Management on Crown Lands in Ontario (MNR-71). Retrieved from http://www.ontario.ca/page/class-ea-forest-management-crown-lands-ontario-mnr-71

Government of Ontario. (2012). Proposed Algonquin Provincial Park Management Plan. Retrieved fromhttp://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/pdf/lighteningthefootprint_2012_amendment.pdf

Mazinaw-Lanark Forest Inc. (2014). Ontario’s Crown Forest Sustainability Act. Retrieved from http://www.mlfi.org/index.php/planning/ontario-crown-forest-sustainability-act

Natural Resources Canada. (2015). Canada Forest Laws. Retrieved fromhttp://www.nrcan.gc.ca/forests/canada/laws/17497

The Ontario Parks (OP) Board of Directors and the Algonquin Forestry Authority (AFA) Board of Directors (2009). Joint Proposal for Lightening the Ecological Footprint of Logging in Algonquin Park. Retrieved fromhttp://www.ontarioparks.com/english/planning_pdf/algo/algo_joint_proposal.pdf

Popular Media

Ferguson, B. (2014). Algonquin Park logging, bee-killing pesticides targeted by environment watchdog. The Star. Retrieved fromhttp://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2014/10/07/time_to_end_logging_in_algonquin_park_environment_watchdog_says.htm

Koven, A., John, C., & Huff, D. (n.d.) Timber Management Class EA. Environmental Beginnings. Retrieved from http://environmentalbeginnings.ca/mnrs-timber-management-class-ea/

Wilson, H. (2014, December 3). Environmental Commissioner Decries Logging in Algonquin. Canadian Geographic. Retrieved fromhttp://www.canadiangeographic.ca/blog/posting.asp?ID=1388

Zanussi, R. (2014, November 10). Environmental Commissioner Recommends Banning Algonquin Park Logging. North Bay Nipssing News. Retrieved fromhttp://www.northbaynipissing.com/news-story/4989697-environmental-commissioner-recommends-banning-algonquin-park-logging/

Grey Literature

Algonquin Eco Watch. (2010) What Makes Algonquin Park Special?. Retrieved fromhttp://www.algonquin-eco-watch.com/forest-management/Annex%201%20What%20Makes%20Algonquin%20Park%20Special.pdf

Algonquin Forestry Authority. (2014). Is Logging in Algonquin Sustainable?. Retrieved fromhttp://algonquinforestry.on.ca/is-logging-in-algonquin-park-sustainable/

CSA Groups (2013). CAN/CSA-Z809-08 (R2013). Retrieved fromhttp://shop.csa.ca/en/canada/sustainable-forest-management/cancsa-z809-08-r2013/invt/27017442008

Euler, D. (2009). Algonquin Eco Watch: Algonquin Park. Retrieved from:http://www.algonquin-eco-watch.com/Human%20Impact/Algonquin_Park_the_human_impact_web.pdf  

International Organization for Standardization (2015). ISO 14001:2015. Retrieved fromhttp://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail?csnumber=60857

Ruby, E. (2006). How Urbanization Affects the Water Cycle. California WALUB Partners.Retrieved from http://www.coastal.ca.gov/nps/watercyclefacts.pdf

Multimedia

Easto, H. (2014). Areas Where Logging Is Permitted and Prohibited in Algonquin park. Eco Issues. N.p. Retrieved from http://ecoissues.ca/File:Algonquin_Figure.jpg

Overview of old growth, logging, and protected zones in Algonquin Park. (2015, October 10). Ancient Forests. Retrieved from http://www.ancientforest.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/algonquin.jpg

GOVERNANCE FRAMEWORK AND PRACTICES: ALGONQUIN PARK, ON

(This section was done in a collaborative group work. Other contributors are Amanda Bulmer, Kiana Bridges, and Mengjia Ding.)

The forest laws in Canada have given governments of provinces and territories the right to develop and enforce laws, regulations and policies related to local forests (Natural Resources Canada, 2015). In this case, the key decision makers of Algonquin Provincial Park are the government, and agencies and organizations within the province of Ontario. The Algonquin Forestry Authority (AFA) is the key local decision maker for forest planning in the Park. However, it is the Ontario Crown Agency that is responsible for sustainable forest management in Algonquin Provincial Park (Algonquin Provincial Park, 2015). The AFA set up the Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) policy and Forest Management Planning for Algonquin Provincial Park, and explain the harvesting operations to the public.

Because Algonquin Park is a provincial park, no international agreements exist in accordance to commercial logging in the Park area. However, the AFA highlighted on their website that the SFM policy for Algonquin Provincial Park has followed the ISO 14001 standard–the international standard for environmental management systems. The standard helps enhance environmental performance, fulfill compliance obligations and achieve environmental objectives (International Organization for Standardization, 2015).

Similar to ISO 14001, Canada also has a national standard for sustainable forest management – CSA-Z809. This standard is recognized by Standards Council of Canada (SCC), and is designed to address the need of forest environment, policy structure and stakeholder communities specific to Canada (CSA Group, 2015).

With reference to both ISO 14001 and CSA-Z809 standards, the AFA formulates its SFM policy, which is available from their website. The policy aims at maintaining park values for future generations, maintaining the long-term health of the forest, as well as producing a sustainable supply of timber products (Algonquin Forestry Authority, 2014). The policy seeks sustainable development in biodiversity, ecosystem condition and productivity, soil, water, contribution to global ecological cycles, benefits to local society, and fulfilling the social responsibility of sustainable development. The SFM policy of Algonquin Provincial Park values the health and security of its employees, the public, and the contractors. The policy pays special attention to the Algonquin First Nations by highlighting Aboriginal rights and participation, and also states the need to organize training programs and prepare emergency response plans, and provide practices for continual improvements (Algonquin Forestry Authority, 2014).

Since Algonquin Provincial Park is a regional park monitored by government agencies, there are not many non-statutory institutions (for instance, Non-Government Organizations) involved in the decision making processes of the Forest Management Plan. However, the AFA communicated with the Local Citizens Committee (LCC) during a public consultation section to hear voices outside the major decision makers. Therefore, opinions from outside the government are also used in developing policies regarding logging in Algonquin Provincial Park (Algonquin Forestry Authority, 2014).

Moreover, logging activities took place within what is now Algonquin Provincial Park long before the area was established as a park (Wilson, 2014). In other words, the tradition of logging has existed before any policies regarding logging in the provincial park were made. The AFA’s decision to continue sustainable logging in the Park, with increased vigilance towards the ecosystem and the needs of the Algonquin First Nations, shows a basic level of respect towards the biodiversity and cultural traditions practiced in the area by the Algonquin.

The Forest Management Planning (FMP) documents provided by AFA explained in detail about decision-making process with both textual and graphic data. However, the SFM policy only provides a brief framework for regulations of forest management in the park without providing actual methods and practices. Although the AFA consulted LCC for opinions from local communities, there was only one member of LCC that participated in the process. Secondly, in the management plan, the AFA uses abbreviation for forest units in its FMP reports, making it hard for the public who does not have professional knowledge in this field to understand the planning documents. These problems decrease the participation of involved groups during forest management planning. Moreover, the implementation of FMP is reflected in the certification annual reports, but the reports are generated approximately one year later (the 2013/2014 report was published on Sept 11, 2015). In other words, AFA fails to provide the public with up-to-date information about forest management implementation in the park. Furthermore, it is not clear if the process is accountable. The management plan for this particular case is fully executed by 2020 (FMP, 2010) and we have to be patient to find out whether the decision makers are trustworthy and can be counted on.

References:

Peer Review

Balint, P. J., Stewart, R. E., Desal, A. & Walters, L. C. (2012). Wicked Environmental Problems:   Managing uncertainty and Conflict. Retrieved from: https://books.google.ca/books?id=H_6XyO9rQqgC&printsec=frontcover&dq=wicked+environmental+problems&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAGoVChMI0tKt0qWRyAIV1SmICh2PFwFV#v=onepage&q&f=false

Cheever, B. M., & Simon, K. S. (2009). Seasonal influence of brook trout and mottled sculpin on lower trophic levels in an Appalachian stream. Freshwater Biology, 54, 524-535.

Creasey, M. L. (2013). Black-throated blue warbler (setophaga caerulescens ) nesting success and nest site selection in the single-tree selection harvested forests of algonquin provincial park, canada (Order No. MR93875). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1399560762). Retrieved from: http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/docview/1399560762?accountid=14656

Frank, D., Finckh, M., & With, C. (2009). Impacts of land use in habitat functions of old-growth forests and their biodiversity. In Wirth, C., Gerd, G, & Martin, H (Eds.), Old-Growth Forests: Function, Fate and Value (429 – 450). DEU: Springer. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com

Jones, J. A., Achterman, G. L., Augustine, L. A., Creed, I. F., Ffolliott, P. F. MacDonald, L. & Wemple B. C. (2009). Hydrologic effects of a changing forested landscape: challenges for the hydrological sciences. Wiley InterScience, 23, 2699-2704.

Mancuso, K., Nol, E., Burke, D. & Elliot, K. (2014). Effects of selection logging on Yellow-bellied Sapsucker sap-feeding habits in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 44:10, pp.1236-1243. Retrieved from:http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/full/10.1139/cjfr-2013-0498#.VgTaE2TBzGd

Government Documents

Algonquin Forestry Authority. (2014). Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Policy. Retrieved from http://algonquinforestry.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/AFA-SFM-Policy-March-2014.pdf

Algonquin Forestry Authority. (2015). Forest Management Planning (FMP). Retrieved from http://algonquinforestry.on.ca/policy-planning-sustainable-forest-management-policy/policy-planning-forest-management-planning/

Algonquin Forestry Authority. (2015). Summary of the 2010-2020 Forest Management Plan (FMP) for the Algonquin Park Forest. Retrieved from http://algonquinforestry.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/6.1.20-FMP-Summary-w-Map1.pdf

Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. (2006). Regulating Logging in Algonquin Park, Neglecting our Obligations, ECO Annual Report, 2005-06. Toronto, ON : Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. Eco Issues. Retrieved from http://www.ecoissues.ca/Regulating_Logging_in_Algonquin_Park

Government of Ontario. (2015). Class EA for Forest Management on Crown Lands in Ontario (MNR-71). Retrieved from http://www.ontario.ca/page/class-ea-forest-management-crown-lands-ontario-mnr-71

Government of Ontario. (2012). Proposed Algonquin Provincial Park Management Plan. Retrieved from http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/pdf/lighteningthefootprint_2012_amendment.pdf

Mazinaw-Lanark Forest Inc. (2014). Ontario’s Crown Forest Sustainability Act. Retrieved from http://www.mlfi.org/index.php/planning/ontario-crown-forest-sustainability-act

Natural Resources Canada. (2015). Canada Forest Laws. Retrieved from http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/forests/canada/laws/17497

The Ontario Parks (OP) Board of Directors and the Algonquin Forestry Authority (AFA) Board of Directors (2009). Joint Proposal for Lightening the Ecological Footprint of Logging in Algonquin Park. Retrieved from http://www.ontarioparks.com/english/planning_pdf/algo/algo_joint_proposal.pdf

Popular Media

Ferguson, B. (2014). Algonquin Park logging, bee-killing pesticides targeted by environment watchdog. The Star. Retrieved from http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2014/10/07/time_to_end_logging_in_algonquin_park_environment_watchdog_says.htm

Koven, A., John, C., & Huff, D. (n.d.) Timber Management Class EA. Environmental Beginnings. Retrieved from http://environmentalbeginnings.ca/mnrs-timber-management-class-ea/

Wilson, H. (2014, December 3). Environmental Commissioner Decries Logging in Algonquin. Canadian Geographic. Retrieved from http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/blog/posting.asp?ID=1388

Zanussi, R. (2014, November 10). Environmental Commissioner Recommends Banning Algonquin Park Logging. North Bay Nipssing News. Retrieved from http://www.northbaynipissing.com/news-story/4989697-environmental-commissioner-recommends-banning-algonquin-park-logging/

Grey Literature

Algonquin Eco Watch. (2010) What Makes Algonquin Park Special?. Retrieved from http://www.algonquin-eco-watch.com/forest-management/Annex%201%20What%20Makes%20Algonquin%20Park%20Special.pdf

Algonquin Forestry Authority. (2014). Is Logging in Algonquin Sustainable?. Retrieved from http://algonquinforestry.on.ca/is-logging-in-algonquin-park-sustainable/

CSA Groups (2013). CAN/CSA-Z809-08 (R2013). Retrieved from http://shop.csa.ca/en/canada/sustainable-forest-management/cancsa-z809-08-r2013/invt/27017442008

Euler, D. (2009). Algonquin Eco Watch: Algonquin Park. Retrieved from: http://www.algonquin-eco-watch.com/Human%20Impact/Algonquin_Park_the_human_impact_web.pdf  

International Organization for Standardization (2015). ISO 14001:2015. Retrieved from http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail?csnumber=60857

Ruby, E. (2006). How Urbanization Affects the Water Cycle. California WALUB Partners. Retrieved from http://www.coastal.ca.gov/nps/watercyclefacts.pdf

Multimedia

Easto, H. (2014). Areas Where Logging Is Permitted and Prohibited in Algonquin park. Eco Issues. N.p. Retrieved from http://ecoissues.ca/File:Algonquin_Figure.jpg

Overview of old growth, logging, and protected zones in Algonquin Park. (2015, October 10). Ancient Forests. Retrieved from http://www.ancientforest.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/algonquin.jpg

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT: GARIBALDI AT SQUAMISH

This project was designed to assess the environmental impacts of the Garibaldi at Squamish project. Map 1, which is retrieved from our lab instructions, shows the location of the project in BC. This proposed project would become a year-round destination mountain resort on Brohm Ridge on Highway 99, 15 km north of Squamish and 45 km south of Whistler. In case of approval, this resort will consist of 124 ski trails of various difficulties in addition to 23 lifts and a resort accommodation and commercial developments. Even though it would provide many jobs, it is important to assess whether the positive economic impacts are worth the negative environmental impacts. To start, Northland Properties and Aquilini Investment Group of Vancouver submitted the proposal for approval under Environmental Assessment Act in 1997. Eventually, in 2010, the BC Environmental Assessment office replied back that the proposal is not complete. They stated that the project was lacking important information on effects on vegetation, fish and wildlife ecosystems. Five years later, project developers submitted an additional application addressing these environmental issues. In the next two months, after public consultations, Whistler opposed the project in a letter. Most importantly, they referred to a 1974 report that ruled out elevations below 555 meter for skiing. My task was to act as a natural resource planner who has been retained by British Columbia Snowmobile Federation, who initially opposed the project. I had to examine Environmental Assessment’s recommendations and Whistler’s criticism to figure out if there still is sufficient evidence to oppose the project, or if the concerns can be addressed as part of the project.

project location

Map 1 – Project location in relation to communities, highways and provincial parks | source: lab instructions

Here are steps I took to analyze data and assess environmental impact of the project:

1. Acquiring Data: Searched in DataBC for data and downloaded two data layers in addition to getting data that was provided by our instructor from G:Drive.

2. Parsing Data: Created a geodatabase to organize my data in.

3. Filtering Data: Clipped vector and raster data to fit my project boundaries.

4. Mining Data: Reclassified the DEM, merged polygons and created buffers for more accurate and easier calculations.

5. Representing Data: Produced a final map in ArcGIS, adding basic map elements.

Map 2 shows the areas that should be protected from this project in addition to a 3D surface visualization in Map 3. My analysis showed that there are still reasons to oppose this project. Approximately 30% of the area has below 555 meter elevation and according to Whistler’s letter this area is useless for ski trails. Moreover, 55.5% of the proposed project area falls under protected areas and nothing could be built in those areas. It is important to note that these two criteria overlap in some cases; however, they still cover a significant area within the project boundary. Therefore, there’s barely has enough space for developments.

Sayna_lab5

Map 2 – Environmental impact assessment of the project

 

Hillshade (1)

Map 3 – 3D surface

Having studied ecology, I believe that humans should preserve environmentally sensitive areas not only for managing resources but also because of our moral obligations to other species. Most important ethical concerns in project development is 1) destruction of natural habitats since it could change the ecosystem significantly; and 2) destroying endangered species could result in irreversible ecological consequences. These two are both seen in the future of this project and the only way to avoid them is to not build anything in these areas.

Accomplishment statement:

Applied the 7 stages of data visualization to my project: acquiring, parsing, filtering, mining, representing, refining and interacting of the data

RESOURCE GOVERNANCE (ASSIGNMENT 3: CASE 25)

“Messes and wicked problems seem to describe much of the forestry debate” (Shindler, 1999). To whether continue logging and prosper the economics of the region or to stop logging and prevent further environmental damages is the usual conflict. Algonquin Provincial situated in central Ontario, Canada faces such debates. Out of 339 parks in Ontario, Algonquin is the only one is the only one that allows commercial logging in 65% of its area (Wilson, 2014). However, in recent years there has been discussion of decreasing this percentage (OPB & AFA, 2009). But logging of Algonquin Park remains a wicked problem. In their book, Balint et al. define ‘wicked problems’ as problems in which “scientific uncertainty coexists with value uncertainty and conflict” (2012, p.9). According to this definition, logging of Algonquin Park is a ‘wicked problem’ since there are differences in values of the forest industry and environmental organizations as well as conflicting findings in various scientific studies. “Strategies for dealing with messes may be relatively straightforward when values are shared; however, wicked problems require a re-examination of management approaches that may push resource professionals beyond traditional problem-solving strategies and even beyond their personal comfort zones” (Shindler, 1999). Management of forests, like any other resource management, should be examined on different scales. In this paper, I will examine forest management and specifically management of Algonquin Park on 5 different scales of Global, Federal, provincial, local and non-statutory and identify main stakeholders of each level. I will then further analyze the governance practices using three factors of transparency, participation and accountability in addition to clearly indicating the gaps and failures in the system.

First, to better understand the problems with forest management, changes in social values should be discussed. After the World War II, industrial nations entered a new stage of socioeconomics referred to as “postindustrial” (Shindler, 1999). It has been argued that “postindustrial” societies have changed individual values structures of citizens (Shindler, 1999). Shifting value orientations have resulted in two different management paradigms concerning natural resources: 1) “Dominant Resource Management Paradigm”, which advocates a management system directed towards production beneficial to humans, and 2) the postmodern “ New Resource Management Paradigm”, which reflects a more biocentric view and a environmentally friendly way of thinking (Shindler, 1999). This change in views has been seen in the US, Canada and in other postindustrial nations all over the world (Shindler, 1999). In the states, it has been studied that a number of socioeconomic factors have been identified with the “New Resource Management Paradigm” (Shindler, 1999). This shift in values has turned forest management into a wicked problem today and the appropriate governance is a controversial topic.

Not all stakeholders of forest management agree on the same governance methods. Forests are managed on different scales. First of all there are international agreements that need to be followed, since actions of one nation could influence the planet as a whole. According to the Natural Resources Canada website, Canada adopted five international agreement that were directly or indirectly related to biodiversity and logging of forests. First, is Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, in which it is stated “the environment and natural resources of people under oppression, domination and occupation shall be protected” (UNEP, 1992). Although this agreement covers a broad range of environmental practices and it’s not specific to forests, it indirectly affects forestry practices. Second, Agenda 21 is a plan adopted by United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992. For instance, one chapter of this plan calls for combatting deforestation (NRCAN, 2015). Third is Convention of Biological Diversity and it focuses on biodiversity in the environment (NRCAN, 2015). The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the fourth agreement. UNFCCC’s main goal is to prevent irreversible human interferences with the climate system and conserving forest biodiversity is a part of it. The last agreement is Forest Principles, again, by United Nations. This agreement is more directly related to forest management. Although this agreement allows exploitation of forests, it demands a sustainable way of doing it (UN General Assembly, 1992).

Next scale of governance is the country itself, Canada. Canada has three levels of government: federal, provincial and municipal (local), all of which play a role in forest governance and as a consequence in Algonquin Provincial Park. These three levels work together to produce proposals. For example, in the Joint Proposal for Lightening the Ecological Footprint of Logging in Algonquin Park this collaboration of levels of government are seen (OPB & AFA, 2009). The main federal stakeholder, Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), watches over operations of others and holds the most power. The proposal is submitted to and approved by MNR in the end; however, other stakeholders do most of the work. At the provincial level, there’s Ontario Parks Board (OPB), which worked closely with the local level government Algonquin Forestry Authority (AFA) in this particular proposal (OPB & AFA, 2009).

In the process of proposals, the decision makers consult main non-statutory (informal) stakeholders as well. Among these is the forest industry, which is influenced the most with decisions of the government. For example, in this case, if the proposal to increase protected areas from logging gets approved, forest industry mills will be greatly affected (OPB & AFA, 2009). Some Mills have accepted and some are still hesitant about the proposal. In contrast, environmental organizations want the operations to proceed as soon as possible. After the proposal turned into Forest Management Plan (FMP), other local stakeholders were consulted as well. The Local Citizen’s Committee (LCC) included participation of local Algonquin peoples and provided very useful insights (FMP, 2010). According to FMP, a public consultation was also scheduled for spring of 2010.

These different types of consultation show participation. Participation is a crucial part of standard governance. The shift in values that I discussed earlier, have caused an increase in public consultation and participation (Shindler, 1999). Participation makes government practices more transparent. Transparency is the openness of the institution in disclosing information. Public officials have the duty to make information accessible to public to promote participation. This information must be relevant and timely (Transparency International, 2009). In the case of Algonquin Park proposal, the proposal and plan is easily accessed online and are both relevant and timely since they were posted as soon as possible and clearly indicated the schedule for public consultations. Although governance of this issue is both participatory and transparent, it is not clear if it’s accountable. The management plan for this particular case is fully executed by 2020 (FMP, 2010) and we have to be patient to find out whether the decision makers are trustworthy and can be counted on. It is worth noting that management, in this case, is shifting to “New Resource Management Paradigm” and according to Shindler, “These shifts include changes in public confidence, including a loss of confidence in federal land management agencies to allocate resources and provide effective leadership” (2009).

In conclusion, decision making for the case of logging in Algonquin Provincial Park is done by collaboration of different scales of government. Federal, provincial and local governments in addition to non-statutory institutions all contribute more or less in governance while taking into considerations international agreements. The governance practices of all these levels as a whole includes portions of participation and transparency. However, it seems that Algonquin peoples are not consulted and listed to as much as they should be as residents of the area. Additionally, while some components of the plans and proposals are transparent, the whole process has not reached a high level of transparency. Moreover, it is not clear whether this system is accountable. The projects of the past can’t be considered to prove accountability since the shift in value also lowers trust. Overall, this governance framework doesn’t yet fully meet standards but it’s headed in the right direction.

 

Sources:

Balint, P. J., Stewart, R. E., Desal, A. & Walters, L. C. (2012). Wicked Environmental Problems: Managing uncertainty and Conflict. Retrieved from:https://books.google.ca/books?id=H_6XyO9rQqgC&printsec=frontcover&dq=wicked+environmental+problems&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAGoVChMI0tKt0qWRyAIV1SmICh2PFwFV#v=onepage&q&f=false

Natural Resources Canada. (2015). Retrieved http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/forests/canada/laws/13197

Ontario Parks Board of Directors & Algonquin Forestry Authority Board of Directors. (2009, September 15). Joint Proposal for Lightening the Ecological Footprint of Logging in Algonquin Park. Retrieved from:http://www.ontarioparks.com/english/planning_pdf/algo/algo_joint_proposal.pdf

Shindler, B. and Cramer, L.A. 1999. Shifting public values for forest management: making sense of wicked problemsWestern Journal of Applied Forestry14(1): 28-34.

Summary of the 2010-2020 Forest Management Plan for the Algonquin Park Forest. Retrieved http://algonquinforestry.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/6.1.20-FMP-Summary-w-Map1.pdf

Transparency International. (2009). Retrieved http://blogs.ubc.ca/environment/files/2015/10/TransparencyAccountabilityParticipation_extractDarby20101.pdf

United Nations Environment Programme. (1992). Retrieved http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=78&ArticleID=1163

United Nations General Assembly. (1992). Retrieved
http://www.un.org/documents/ga/conf151/aconf15126-3annex3.htm

Wilson, H. (2014, December 3). Environmental commissioner decries in Algonquin.Canadian Geographic. Retrieved from:http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/blog/posting.asp?ID=1388

 

HOUSING AFFORDABILITY: VANCOUVER VS MONTREAL

Looking at shelter costs and household income separately is not a good measure for comparing housing affordability in different cities, because for instance, people in larger cities might have higher incomes than smaller cities but same dwelling costs. To get a more accurate measure, we can use a ratio of shelter cost over median income. This ratio is called the “Multiple Median” also called price-to-income ratio, which is used in 11th Annual Demographia Housing Affordability Survey. This ratio is reliable and easily understood. It is “essential structural indicator for measuring the health of residential markets and facilitates meaningful and transparent comparisons of housing affordability” (2015). This survey was done by experts and professionals in the field of urban planning and should be trusted. These experts provided housing affordability ratings. In other words, they have indicated what ratios are affordable and which ones are not. Here’s a table that summarizes their findings:

Median Multiple Rating
<3 Affordable
3-4 Moderately Unaffordable
4-5 Seriously Unaffordable
>5 Severely Unaffordable

I have used the ratio and the ratings from this survey to compare housing affordability in the cities of Vancouver and Montreal using GIS. Figure1, shows that there’s no affordable area in Vancouver, whereas, most of Montreal is affordable. However, it’s important to note that affordability does not mean liveability. Affordability simply mean the ability of the population to afford housing, while liveability is a complex measure of various factors such as natural environments, social stability, economic prosperity, educational opportunity and etc. Therefore, Vancouver might not be an affordable city but that doesn’t mean it has low levels of liveability.

Q11

Figure 1 – Affordability Maps

Accomplishment statement:

Compared datasets by appropriate classification of quantitative data retrieved from Canadian Census Data

QUANTITATIVE DATA CLASSIFICATION

In GIS there are 4 main data classification methods: 1) Natural Breaks, 2) Equal Intervals, 3) Standard Deviation, and 4) Manual Breaks. Natural Breaks is the default classification in GIS, however, it’s not always the most appropriate. When choosing classifications, we have to be careful and think of how to represent data so it’s most ethical and representative of the message we want to deliver with our map. Figure 1 shows all 4 methods used to show Vancouver dwelling costs. Even though the data is identical for all 4, each map represents Vancouver dwelling costs in a different way.

Q7
Figure 1 – Data Classification Methods

 

HOW TO CHOOSE A METHOD

We should consider 6 questions when choosing a method:

  1. Does the method take into consideration the distribution of data?
  2. Does it make it easier to understand data?
  3. Does make computations easier?
  4. Does it make the legend easier to read?
  5. Is it appropriate for our selected number of classes?
  6. Is this method the most ethical?

Taking into consideration the 6 questions above, the selected method might be different in different fields. For example, if both a journalist and a real estate agent used the same data of dwelling costs for Vancouver they would probably choose different methods. If I were a journalist, I would choose natural breaks. The data is skewed and the most accurate method for analysis would be natural because natural breaks method generates homogeneitywithin classes and heterogeneity between classes. Frankly, as a real estate agent, I would use manual breaks for 2 reasons: 1) To round up the numbers and make it easier for customers to read and find the best fit for their budget 2) For higher sales and advertisement, I could manipulate data in a way that the agency’s properties fall into the cheaper priced areas. In that way, customers would think they’re buying a reasonably priced property relative to the rest of the city. However, the latter is far from ethical and data classification should not be used to manipulate any decisions. Therefore, a reasonable and ethical manual break method would be best.

 

AREAS AT RISK OF TSUNAMI IN THE CITY OF VANCOUVER

Lab3-Map

In an event of a tsunami in city of Vancouver, 5.87% of the total area is under danger. To find this percentage, I created a layer, in GIS, of areas within the 1 km proximity of shorelines as well as a vector layer of elevation areas 10 meters and under. Then, I used the ‘overlay tool’ under “Analysis tools’ in ArcToolbox to find the intersection of these two layers, which would show the danger zones in city of Vancouver. To calculate what percentage is under danger, I found the area of danger zone in the layer’s attribute table (using the statistics command) and divided it by the total area of the city.

There are a number of healthcare and education facilities that lie on danger areas. To find these facilities, I used the overlay tool in ArcToolbox, once more, navigating Analysis Tools > Overlay > Intersect. Then I entered Vancouver danger zones layer and healthcare locations layer in the “input features” field to find the healthcare facilities that fall into the Vancouver danger zones and I got the following from the attribute table of the new layer:

  1. FALSE CREEK RESIDENCE
  2. YALETOWN HOUSE SOCIETY
  3. VILLA CATHAY CARE HOME

I did the same for education and the following were the result:

  1. ST ANTHONY OF PADUA
  2. ECOLE ROSE DES VENTS
  3. FALSE CREEK ELEMENTARY
  4. EMILY CARR INSTITUTE OF ART & DESIGN (ECIAD)
  5. HENRY HUDSON ELEMENTARY

Here are some of the main skills I acquired from this lab (and also in this course):

  • Applied my basic knowledge of GIS software in geographic analysis of real-world problems considering data integrity and ethical implications
  • Identified misaligned and improperly referenced data and repaired the problem
  • Created a map performing basic geographic analysis accompanied by standard map elements