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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

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ecosite decision support system for sustainable forest management in manitoba

Ecosite Decision Support System for Sustainable Forest Management in Manitoba

Project Overview

partnership approach
Partnership Approach
  • 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
contributing partners
University of Manitoba

Tembec - Pine Falls

Tolko Manitoba

LP Canada Inc.

GeoSpatial International

ManitobaModel Forest

Manitoba Conservation

Manitoba Hydro

Ducks Unlimited Canada

Contributing Partners
national financial awards
National Financial Awards
  • Canadian Forest Service (CFS)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
  • 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
what is an ecosite
What is an Ecosite?
  • 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
project goals
Project Goals
  • 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
ecosite classification for manitoba
Ecosite Classification for 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
ecosite development process
Ecosite Development Process
  • 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
ecosite development technical review
Ecosite Development: Technical Review
  • 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)
field trial data collection 2002 2003
Field Trial & Data Collection (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
post field work
Post-field Work
  • 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
biodiversity goals and objectives
Biodiversity: Goals and Objectives
  • 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
measuring diversity for dss
Measuring Diversity For DSS
  • The Ecosite sampling and mapping methodology previously discussed is compatible with assessing diversity
  • Diversity has strong scaling properties from the ecoelement to landscape scale
diversity hierarchy
Diversity hierarchy
  • 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)
diversity as an associated value
Diversity as an Associated Value
  • 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
scaling diversity to the ecosite level
Scaling Diversity to the Ecosite-level
  • 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
mapping ecosite habitat structure toposequences


X-Coordinate Position on Landscape

Digital Number (DN) Grey Scale

Mapping Ecosite Habitat Structure: Toposequences
advantage of habitat structure scaling approaches
Advantage of Habitat Structure/Scaling Approaches
  • 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
  • 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”
goals and objectives
Goals and Objectives
  • 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

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



phase 1 overview
Phase 1 Overview
  • Expert interview - Delphi approach
  • Site inventory
  • Literature/media review
  • Determine landscape criteria to model recreation habitat suitability indices
preliminary grey literature inventory
Preliminary Grey Literature Inventory
  • Forest recreation represents a diverse array of activities






Wildlife Viewing





X-country skiing








Power Boating


# of References

interview step methodology
Interview Step Methodology
  • 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
phase 2 overview
Phase 2 Overview
  • 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)
phase 3 overview
Phase 3 Overview
  • 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
ecosite decision support system for sustainable forest management in manitoba36

Ecosite Decision Support System for Sustainable Forest Management in Manitoba

Concluding Remarks

  • 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