Innovation Alberta Featured Theme:
Cumulative effects is one of the most important environmental issues of our time. No longer can different industries afford to work in isolation on the land. No longer can people expect unlimited growth without serious consequences for the environment and the economy.
Dr. Brad Stelfox has developed a computer model called ALCES which plots the cumulative impact of oil and gas activity, logging, farming, roads, utility corridors and urban growth. Layers these altogether and you can see the landuse projections into the future – and the resulting conflicts.
Did you know, for example, that oil and gas activity removes almost as much forest as logging? If nothing changes, forestry may well become a mostly salvage operation in Alberta, utilizing trees cut down to make way for roads, seismic, pipelines and wellsites.
Integrated Landscape Management is a means to reduce the heavy footprint of human activity on the landscape. It is a philosophy the Alberta Chamber of Resources has embraced and actively promotes.
Dr. Stan Boutin of the University of Alberta now holds the NSERC/ACR Integrated Landscape Management Industrial Research Chair He and his team of researchers will investigate the scientific and practical issues associated with implementing ILM.
Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc and Japan Canada Oil Sands Limited (JACOS) are two companies which support ILM and have previously partnered with Innovation Alberta to feature interviews related to this important subject.
JACOS says ILM allows for best practices on the land:
"Integrated Landscape Management is an innovative approach to sharing the terrestrial resource with other users of this resource. These users include other industrial interests such as forestry and gas producers, and also aboriginal groups and recreational groups with an intent of minimizing negative environmental impacts. We view this as a 'best practice' and also a cost effective way of conducting business. Less land disturbance results in less ultimate land
Alberta-Pacific says cumulative effects is an important research focus
"Alberta-Pacific was one of the first companies in the province to recognize the impact cumulative industrial effects were having on the landscape and to take action to address the issue. Through WEPA, we supported the development of the ALCES model to assess cumulative impacts and project future landscape scenarios in order to provide a tool that land managers could use to make better decisions about their activities on the land base. We helped to establish the Integrated Landscape Management program through the Alberta Chamber of Resources and sponsored the Senior Research Chair in Integrated Landscape Management at the University of Alberta. Alberta-Pacific continues to promote ILM through an internal team and works with other industry wherever possible to collaborate on planning and provide recommendations on best practices in order to reduce the industrial 'footprint' on the landscape."