NSERC/ACR INTEGRATED LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT RESEARCH CHAIR

 


NSERC/ACR (Alberta Chamber of Resources) Industrial Research Chair in Integrated Landscape Management was established in 2001 in the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta. The program is a collaboration between NSERC, industry, Alberta Government and the University of Alberta.


The aim of the program is to foster integration of diverse resource use sectors by development of “best-management practices” to minimize the cumulative effects of their activities on each other and the terrestrial environment, provide scientific input to foster policy alignment across government departments, and conduct regional multiple resource use scenario analyses in a manner that considers all resource sectors and has ecosystem sustainability as a fundamental goal in Alberta’s northeast boreal forest. The focus is on collecting the ecological information necessary to improve integration of diverse resource sectors and to understand the cumulative effects of multiple uses on aspects of ecosystem function.


The current research team is composed of the Senior Chairholder (Stan Boutin), a senior research associate, a post-doctoral fellow, executive assistant, head field technician, and 6 graduate students (3 MSc and 3PhD). Dr. Stan Boutin has twenty-five years experience in the field of Ecology and Environmental Biology, with 4 years direct forestry experience while working for Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. as a Research Ecologist, Program Leader, and Director of Science and Technology. Recent work focuses on integrated landscape management issues directly related to cumulative effects and the influence these effects have on Alberta's environmental and economic sustainability. Currently holds the only NSERC Industrial Research Chair in the Faculty of Science at the University of Alberta, concomitantly with a professorship.

HIGHLIGHTS

* Fate of seismic lines: Results of research in the ILM program suggests that the wide seismic lines cut into boreal forests from the early 50's to the early 2000 are persistent features on boreal landscapes. Only about 8% of lines cut through forests were recovered after 35 years. Much of the remainder remains cleared and dominated by grasses and forbs. As much as 20% of lines have developed regular vehicle travel as evidenced by the presence tracks clearly visible through aerial photography. The initial pattern of seismic lines have had
and is continuing to have a very large affect on the development pattern in Alberta's boreal region.


* Dose-response curves: The ILM program is developing a suite of cumulative effect assessment and management tools designed to help define appropriate and socially acceptable thresholds or ‘limits of acceptable change’ using science-based ‘ecological dose-response curves’. Dose-response curves use a retrospective approach, whereby the ecological response (i.e. species abundance or species productivity) is measured along a continuum of human disturbances already existing in a region. Statistical relationships are developed that tie the abundance of particular species to varying levels of different human disturbances. Although the dose-response concept provides the scientific framework for establishing how biological indicators respond to increasing human disturbance, science cannot provide “the” acceptable threshold of human activity for CEA using this or any other approach. Thresholds must be set by society and will depend on the tradeoff between economic growth and the level of ecological risk we are willing to accept.


For more information on these and other highlights, see the ILM Newsletters on the ILM website.

 

TO CONTACT THE NSERC ACR ILM INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH CHAIR


W ebsite address: http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/faculty/stan_boutin/ilm/
E mail contact: stan.boutin@ualberta.ca
Mailing address:
CW405 Biological Sciences Building
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB. T6G 2E9

Publications: See "Publications" section on the website