Author Archives: sayena sadeghi

MISALIGNED AND IMPROPERLY REFERENCED DATA IN GIS

THE PROBLEM

When data is projected into a different coordinate system, in addition to distance, area, angles and direction of the map are deformed. To prevent this problem, we should make sure that the downloaded data are aligned and properly referenced. This helps further actions and analyses to run smoother. To do so, we first check to see if the coordinate systems, datum and units of all files are matching. These properties can be found by right-clicking on the file in ArcCatalog then going to ‘properties’. Most of necessary information is under ‘Spatial References’.

HOW TO FIX THE PROBLEM

To fix this problem in GIS, we launch ‘properties’ from ArcCatalog (like explained previously) and under ‘XY Coordinate System’ tab choose the relevant coordinate system and click ‘OK’. However, if spatial analysis needs to be done, the appropriate action is to project a layer. Projecting a layer transforms data and creates a new layer with a different coordinate system. To do this, first we add the file we are working with to Table of Contents. Then launch ArcToolbox from toolbar then navigate to Data Management Tools > Projections and Transformations > Project. A window will pop up. The ‘Input Dataset’ field should be filled with the name of the file and for the ‘Output Dataset’ field find the official/common projection. Finally add the new layer to the map.

WORKING WITH REMOTELY SENSED LANDSAT IMAGERY

Sunlight is used in landsat imagery as the energy source to measure responses of objects and surfaces on earth. These images are not just pictures but contain many layers of data collected along visible and invisible light spectrum. These images are used to look at earth’s surfaces including types of vegetation, water areas and etc. They’re advantageous in a sense that they provide repetitive observations of the Earth since 1972, which allows analysts to compare images of different times and determine changes that are occurring.

ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Peer-reviewed References

Lindenmayer, D. B. (1999). Future directions for biodiversity conservation in managed forests: indicator species, impact studies and monitoring programs. Forest Ecology and Management, 115, 277-287.

This peer-reviewed article is based on a conference in Uppsala, Sweden n 1997 and addresses a number of key issues including 1) the potential value of a indicator species concept for forest conservation, 2) impacts of logging on biodiversity and limitations of previous investigations, and, 3) ways to monitor species to achieve long-term ecological sustainability. This heavily cited article provides a more general view on biodiversity conservation issues associated with logging rather than focusing on one specific species in a specific forest. Lidenmayer’s work is valuable to my research since it gives a possible explanation to conflicting scientific results found in other articles. “There may be cumulative long-term effects of logging and the response of species after the first cut may be different from that following successive ones” (Lidenmayer, 1999, p. 280).

There’s no mention of methods used for gathering the information in this article. However, the author suggests appropriate methods for further investigations in the matter including field experiments, observational studies and simulation modeling. Lidenmayer’s paper is descriptive and concise yet easy to read. On one hand, the various sources used in this article as well as being published in a known journal increase the reliability of the paper. On the other hand, the article was published in 1999; therefore, the statistics and examples are not exactly up-to-date. In the end, Lindenmayer recognizes the limitations of the findings in the article.

 

Jones, B., Molenda, O., Hayward, C., D’Aguiar, M., Miller, N., Rye, L. & Cottenie, K. (2011). Patterns of tree diversity in response to logging in Algonquin Provincial Park. Studies by Undergraduate Researchers at Guelph, 4:2, pp. 56-62.

The authors of this article investigate the effects of disturbance on species diversity, in order to find ways to mitigate its effects. The main theoretical framework this study uses is the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis (IDH), which states that at intermediate levels of disturbance—human or natural—diversity is maximized. For this study, they sampled seven sites from Algonquin Park in Ontario with known times since last logging ranging from 4 to 149 years. Their results from the study matched the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis; therefore, they concluded that it is possible to log trees and maintain diversity as long as logging is done after a certain amount of time has passed.

This article is relatively more challenging to read since it uses many scientific terms and jargon. It is well structured, comprehensive and up-to-date. The article is also supported by more than 30 sources listed in the end of the paper. Although this study is a work of undergraduate students at University of Guelph, supervision by a credible professor is indicated on the paper.

 

Nol, E., Douglas, H., & Crins, W. (2006). Responses of syrphids, elaterids and bees to single-tree selection harvesting in algonquin provincial park, ontario. Canadian Field-Naturalist, 120(1), 15-21.

The focus of this scholarly article is relatively narrow. It concentrates on the effects of single-tree logging in Algonquin Park specifically on hoverflies, click beetles and bees. This article provides a perfect example for the negative long-term impact of improper logging on biodiversity. The hypothesis states that the richness of these flower-seeking insects increases significantly in logged areas since the amount of sunlight penetrating the forest floor is higher. For this study, samples were chosen randomly in three groups of last logged 40 years ago, old logged (15-20 years ago) and recently logged (6 months – 3 years ago). Then the three species were captured in all areas. Each of the target groups had significantly higher captures in recently logged areas.

This article is on the more challenging side since it contains many undefined scientific terms. Despite that, it is a reliable source with two authors from different universities and one from the research section of Ministry of Natural Resources. Overall, this scientific paper is trustworthy with a long list of different sources. Even though the article was published in 2006 the study was conducted in 1997 and 1998.

 

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

This also is a scholarly article with a narrower subject. The focus of the paper is the behavior change in a woodpecker species, the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, after selection logging in Algonquin Park. The method used for this study includes examining three components, 1) the average distance travelled from their nest to sapwell tree, 2) characteristics of active sapwell trees compared to the rest, and, 3)the reuse f sapwell trees after 1 or 2 years. The results show that all three components did not vary as a result of selection logging. This article provides an example clashes with Nol et al. article and gives a completely different perspective. This article is evidence for scientific uncertainty and conflict in this subject.

Aside from a few scientific terms, this article is easy to follow and structured well. This article is published in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research in 2014. It also provides a long list of references at the end. This means that the article is reliable and up-to-date. The limitations to study are mentioned.

 

Grey Literature References

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

This document, developed by Ontario Parks Board and Algonquin Forestry Authority Board, provides all the basic information about Algonquin Park as well as the issues and conflicts associated with logging of the park followed by recommendations to address these issues. The section specifically related to my research focuses on significance of Algonquin Park as an ecosystem. This park is home to several species at risk and should be protected to maintain these species as well as protecting ecological integrity.

This document is thorough and easy to read; it comes with a 6-page appendix that helps better understand the concepts and issues. It doesn’t have specific author(s), however, it’s written by reliable sources, Ontario Parks and AFA but there are no references included. It’s an unbiased source since it contains different perspectives of environmentalists and forest industry.

 

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/

This online newspaper article is based on the opinions of Gordon Miller, Ontario’s environmental commissioner. It points out the changes in the environment and biodiversity of Algonquin Park as a result of logging. The article ends with suggestions by Miller to address the problems of logging. According to Miller, not only logging affects biodiversity directly but also indirectly. More than 2000 kilometers of roads constructed in the park for transportation of the logs damage habitats and wildlife as well as serving as a pathway for invasive species.

This article was retrieved from the North Bay Nipssing News website. This paper is a part of a parent company called Metroland Media and is the most northern community paper in the company. Being a part of a larger company makes this source more reliable but it’s still a little questionable. Nonetheless, one advantage of newspaper sources is that they’re the most up-to-date sources available.

 

Raw Data Sources

Retrieved from http://www.eco.on.ca/blog/2014/12/03/park-not-park/

Algonquin-Logging-Map

This map retrieved from the environmental commissioner of Ontario (ECO) website provides a good representation of the areas open to logging. This map shows that the percentage of protected areas from logging (green areas) is smaller than logging areas (pink areas). This shows that much of the biodiversity of the park is in danger.

The ECO, appointed by the Legislative Assembly, monitors and reports on compliance with the Environmental Bill of Rights, therefore, this map is a reliable source. Although the representations of the map might be obvious there are always hidden information in maps that require further investigation.

 

Retrieved from: 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

Algonquin table

This table is taken out of the Joint Proposal for Lightening the Ecological Footprint of Logging in Algonquin Park. The reliability of this source is discussed above. This table compliments the information seen in the map above (retrieved from ECO website). Additionally it shows that little has to be changed to make a great impact in environment and biodiversity of the area.

LOGGING OF ALGONQUIN PROVINCIAL PARK

Algonquin Park situated in central Ontario is a natural area that serves as a recreation and tourism destination as well as providing social and economic benefits to local communities, the region and the province (Ontario Parks & AFA, 2009). Out of the 339 parks in Ontario, this park is the only one that allows commercial logging. About 65% of this park, which is approximately 1.5 times larger than Prince Edward Island in area, is open for commercial logging (Wilson, 2014). The logging of this park has negative effects on its ecosystem. According to Wilson, at least 16 species of this park are at risk (2014), however, he does not clearly correlate this threat to logging in his article. Nonetheless, in their study, Jones et al. prove that logging in Algonquin Park affects patterns of tree diversity. Moreover, it has been proven that it also decreases or in some cases increases the richness of certain species. For example, the richness of bees and click beetles were increased in Algonquin as a result of harvesting Sugar Maple and Yellow Birch (Nol et al., 2006). Additionally, bird habitats and nesting sites get destroyed in the process (Creasey, 2013). Logging activities have a negative impact on air quality as well since there are many roads and vehicles dedicated to them (Ontario Parks & AFA, 2009).

 

Why is this a wicked problem?

It might seem like this is a simple problem; the logging of trees is detrimental to ecosystem of the park, therefore, logging should be prohibited. However, when we get a deeper look at this problem, we understand that it’s more complicated than that. Balancing the increased protection of the park and maintaining adequate wood supply for local mills is very challenging (Ontario Parks & AFA, 2009). The main decision makers for this problem are the Ministry of Natural Resources and Algonquin Forestry Authority. The decisions these entities make affect many people and organizations. One of the key stakeholders is the forest industry. The people in the industry presume that reducing the availability of areas for logging will limit opportunities for future investments and diversification in the industry. Additionally, many jobs will be lost as a result and the local economy will be threatened (Ontario Parks & AFA, 2009). In opposition to this idea, environmentalists and environmental organizations believe that logging is a disturbance that could be harmful to the environment if it’s done excessively or not properly. In addition to these social conflicts, scientists have given contradictory results about the harmful effects of logging. As I mentioned in the first paragraph, there’s proof that logging could be harmful to the environment. However, some studies show that the ecosystem is not altered as a result of logging but it adapts to it. For example, Mancuso et al. prove that selection logging does not modify behaviour of sapsuckers—a woodpecker species—significantly; they still successfully use the available trees (2013).

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.

 

Recommendations

Ontario Parks board and Algonquin Forestry Authority board have given recommendations to manage this problem. They consulted key stakeholders for these recommendations to keep both sides as content as possible. Here is a summary of the recommendations:

  • “Recognition of areas not available for forest management
  • Expansion of protection zones
  • Proposed operational and planning strategies
  • Implementation strategies” (Ontario Parks & AFA, 2009)IMG_0220 (1)

 

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

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

Jones, B., Molenda, O., Hayward, C., D’Aguiar, M., Miller, N., Rye, L. & Cottenie, K. (2011). Patterns of tree diversity in response to logging in Algonquin Provincial Park. Studies by Undergraduate Researchers at Guelph, 4:2, pp. 56-62.

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

Nol, E., Douglas, H., & Crins, W. (2006). Responses of syrphids, elaterids and bees to single-tree selection harvesting in algonquin provincial park, ontario. Canadian Field-Naturalist, 120(1), 15-21.

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

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