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Ecosite Decision Support System for Sustainable Forest Management in Manitoba. Project Overview. Partnership Approach. Maximizes the opportunity to share available ideas, information, existing data and costs (financial support)

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Ecosite decision support system for sustainable forest management in manitoba l.jpg

Ecosite Decision Support System for Sustainable Forest Management in Manitoba

Project Overview

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Partnership Approach Management in Manitoba

  • Maximizes the opportunity to share available ideas, information, existing data and costs (financial support)

  • Provides a forum for knowledge transfer among participants and interested stakeholders

  • Promotes the use of the system across an array of users

  • Ensures that the benefits of the project are immediately available

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University of Manitoba Management in Manitoba

Tembec - Pine Falls

Tolko Manitoba

LP Canada Inc.

GeoSpatial International

ManitobaModel Forest

Manitoba Conservation

Manitoba Hydro

Ducks Unlimited Canada

Contributing Partners

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National Financial Awards Management in Manitoba

  • Canadian Forest Service (CFS)

  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)

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Background Management in Manitoba

  • A new approach for an SFM Decision Support System (DSS):

    • to benefit a diverse array of users of forest resource information

  • DSS based upon a land classification at a level useful for management, using:

    • Canada Committee on Ecological Land Classification (CCELC) created in 1976

    • Forest Ecosystem Classification (FEC) for Manitoba developed in 1995

  • An Ecosite-level classification unit required

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What is an Ecosite? Management in Manitoba

  • Unit Established by the Canada Committee on Ecological Land Classification

    • spatial unit between lower order ecoelements and the ecosection level

    • mappable at scales of 1:10,000 to 1:20,000 with areas of 10-1,000 ha

      • relevant to resource use decision making (habitat, succession, land use, forestry, etc.)

    • the fundamental unit for the Manitoba DSS

    • the level at which biodiversity and recreational associated values will be incorporated

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CCELC Hierarchy Management in Manitoba

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Higher Order Land Units: Ecozones Management in Manitoba

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Project Goals Management in Manitoba

  • Develop a methodology for consistent classification of ecosites and associated forestry/non-forestry values

  • Build upon existing lower-order ecoelements

    • e.g. aerial photo interpretation - stand delineation/typing, PHA.

  • Produce a common communication tool

    • e.g. resource managers, users and stakeholders

  • Assist in forest resource management decision-making processes

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Ecosite Classification for Manitoba Management in Manitoba

  • Project to utilize a mapping approach:

    • refine already available V- and S- Type ecoelements in the Manitoba FEC

    • formulate a consistent classification key and ecosite descriptions

  • Ecosites are based upon abiotic features that generally remain stable and biotic associations

  • Includes terrestrial and aquatic systems

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Ecosite Development Process Management in Manitoba

  • Preliminary Manitoba ecosite key and descriptions (completed 2001)

    • review of existing ecosites and keys from similar jurisdictions

    • integration of Manitoba FEC V & S Types

    • draft preliminary key for field testing and revision for Manitoba

      • 40 preliminary ecosites

      • refining ecosite-ecoelement relationship

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Ecosite Development: Ecosite Key Management in Manitoba

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Ecosite-Ecoelement Relationships Management in Manitoba

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Ecosite Development: Technical Review Management in Manitoba

  • Review preliminary ecosites key and descriptions (winter 2001)

    • features to delineate ecosite polygons

    • associations of ecoelements

    • survey methodology

    • integrate with partners

      • e.g. Manitoba Forest Lands Inventory Technical Advisory Committee (FLITAC)

      • Ducks Unlimited (for wetlands)

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Field Trial & Data Collection Management in Manitoba(2002-2003)

  • Sample site locations determined in conjunction with partners

  • Utilize new and existing data including already typed polygons, PHA and other data as available

    • incorporate information from Duck Mountain pilot project

  • Work with industry partners to field test ecosite keys

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Post-field Work Management in Manitoba

  • Utilize information from on-ground data collection and test trials of the keys

    • refinement of the ecosites key

      • including additions to FEC V & S - Types

    • ecosite description fact sheets including associated ecological values

  • Workshops to review progress and ensure data transferability

  • Development of DSS in 2003

    • incorporate user needs and associated values

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Biodiversity: Goals and Objectives Management in Manitoba

  • Objective is to incorporate biodiversity values into our DSS and the Ecological Land Classification of Manitoba

    • considers the scaling properties of biodiversity from the ecoelement to landscape scale

    • focuses on habitat structural elements

    • utilizes a mapping approach to identify areas of high diversity

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Measuring Diversity For DSS Management in Manitoba

  • The Ecosite sampling and mapping methodology previously discussed is compatible with assessing diversity

  • Diversity has strong scaling properties from the ecoelement to landscape scale

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Diversity hierarchy Management in Manitoba

  • Landscape

    • Abiotic and Biotic relations

    • Number of community types

    • Spatial arrangement

  • Community

    • Interactions among populations

    • Species composition

    • Guilds

  • Population

    • Interactions of individuals with habitat

    • Species viability

    • Genetics (Subspecies)

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Diversity as an Associated Value Management in Manitoba

  • Landscapes are the ‘unit’ on which we manage forest biodiversity

    • we incorporate diversity into the DSS by building links between levels of the hierarchy:

      • ecoelement based diversity principles to landscape-level

      • ecoelement measures of habitat structure to landscape pattern

  • Measures of habitat structure and spatial pattern included in DSS at Ecosite scale

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Scaling Diversity to the Ecosite-level Management in Manitoba

  • Diversity from measuring forest ecosite pattern on the landscape:

    • from Manitoba FRI, remotely sensed imagery and ecosite polygon maps (e.g. DU)

    • assesses diversity among clusters of ecosites

  • Examine habitat structure along toposequences:

    • assesses habitat diversity as changes in forest structure within the ecosites (e.g. L-P)

    • aerial survey with paraglider (scaling-up)

  • Approach emphasize habitat diversity

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DN Management in Manitoba

X-Coordinate Position on Landscape

Digital Number (DN) Grey Scale

Mapping Ecosite Habitat Structure: Toposequences

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Advantage of Habitat Structure/Scaling Approaches Management in Manitoba

  • Complete species and RTE lists, genetic studies etc. are ideal, but:

    • cost prohibitive

    • requires intensive sampling over entire season

    • species are often missed (RTE) or some are never counted (insects, mosses, etc.)

    • time scale, structure and pattern on the landscape often not considered

  • Habitat approach provides measures compatible with forest management

    • spatially explicit, mappable, can be examined over time

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Ecosite DSS for Manitoba: Management in ManitobaIncorporating Recreation Values

Recreation Habitat Suitability Index

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Context Management in Manitoba

  • Forest recreation takes a variety of forms with each requiring specific environmental conditions

  • Therefore individual forest recreation types can be seen as “species” with distinct habitat requirements

  • To date most forest recreation research has attempted to ascribe economic value

  • We need to identify preferred habitat requirements for recreation “species”

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Goals and Objectives Management in Manitoba

  • To integrate recreational values into Ecosite DSS for sustainable forest management in Manitoba

    • inventory of outdoor recreation activities and environments

    • develop a recreation atlas for the province

    • identify feasibility of using recreation habitat suitability indices in forest planning and management

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Methodology Management in Manitoba

Phase 2

Phase 1

Phase 3

Prior knowledge

GIS Layer

Expert Interviews

Spatial Model

Species-environment relationship

GIS Layer

Grey Literature

Species distribution map

Analysis of species-environment relationship

GIS Layer

Academic Literature



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Coarse and Fine Filter Approach Management in Manitoba

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Phase 1 Overview Management in Manitoba

  • Expert interview - Delphi approach

  • Site inventory

  • Literature/media review

  • Determine landscape criteria to model recreation habitat suitability indices

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Preliminary Grey Literature Inventory Management in Manitoba

  • Forest recreation represents a diverse array of activities






Wildlife Viewing





X-country skiing








Power Boating


# of References

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Interview Step Methodology Management in Manitoba

  • Will approximate a snowball sampling technique

  • Sampling concludes when significant repetition occurs

  • Experts will provide:

    • diverse perspectives

    • data on landscape requirements

    • specific activities and intensities

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Phase 2 Overview Management in Manitoba

  • Based on phase 1 preliminary sites identified

    • document what people do and where

  • Link activity with ecoelements

    • creates the potential for future ecosite identification

  • Field trial for specific recreation types

    • RHSI (recreation habitat suitability index)

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Phase 3 Overview Management in Manitoba

  • Forest recreation atlas/RHSI at ecosite level as part of DSS (2003)

    • forest recreation activities in Manitoba are diverse

    • an atlas will assist in supporting SFM

  • RHSI’s likely to have complex distribution

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Ecosite Decision Support System for Sustainable Forest Management in Manitoba

Concluding Remarks

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Summary Management in Manitoba

  • Foundation ecological classification established

    • refinement continuing

  • Incorporation of associated non-timber values for biodiversity and recreation

    • ongoing iterative process

  • Closely linked to sustainable forest planning and management

    • cooperative partnerships established

    • developing a DSS integrating a range of forest values for ease of application by the forest industry