Canadian Environmental Issues Study GuideExam 1
The boreal forests commercial activities: logging, wood fiber and saw log production, pulp and paper mills and fiberboard production. From minerals: prospecting, mining and smelting. Water: hydroelectric developments, subsistence, sport, commercial harvesting, tourism.
Canada is the world’s leading forest product exporter. Forestry industry is the largest single contributor to Canada’s balance of trade, withexports totaling over $28 billion in 2012 (US is the largest buyer of Canadian forest products)
50% of the boreal forest is allocated to industry and open to harvesting. They have the highest rates of increase in forestcover loss globally.
Provincial governments are responsible for 77 per cent of the nation’s forests. Federal and territorial governments responsible for 16 per cent. Remaining 7 per cent of forests managed by 450,000 private landowners. Provincial governments manage forest resources on behalf of the public through agreements with private logging companies.
4 different types of harvesting relationships:
1.Symbiotic. Harvesting NFTPs alongside timber production is encouraged, may rise overall returns.
2 Complementary. NFTPs and timber extracted from the same land base in non conflicting ways.
3. Competitive. Mutually exclusive uses.
4. Independent. Two uses operate on different units of land.
One of the most controversial issues in Canadian forestry: rate of conversion of natural to managed forests. Provinces have an annual allowable cut (AAC), which should reflect the long range sustained yield (LRSY) of a given unit of land. This is limited by the growth conditions, the biological potential of the site and how that potential can be augmented by silvicultural practices. It is not sustainable to have an AAC that exceeds the biological potential, however, economists encourage maximizing monetary returns of the first cut in order to invest in other wealthproducing programs.
Don't forget about the age old question of What are hedonic needs?
Change in species and age distributions arising from forest management practices ahs a major impact on ecological processes such as energy flows, biogeochemical cycles and the hydrological cycle, and the habitat for other species.
Difference between disturbance through forestry and natural processes: natural disturbances (fire, insect attack) do not result in the physical removal of the biomass from the site, consistent wit the law of conservation of matter. On the other hand, logging results in physical translocation of nutrients from the site. The closer that forest harvesting approximates the conditions of natural perturbations, the less disturbing it will be for the ecosystem. Don't forget about the age old question of What strategies can get information from working memory into long term memory?
The natural viability of forests is reduced when they are replaced by plantations. The impact of clearcuts on biodiversity can be reduced by keeping them small, with irregular edges and retained forest patches within the clearcut. Once they start regenerating, species diversity increases rapidly and usually results in a plant community that is more speciesrich and diverse than the harvested community. This does not happen where an area has to be replanted since it involves a few number of species.
∙ Annual allowable cut (AAC): Based on the theoretical annual increment of merchantable timber, after taking into account factors such as quantity and quality of species, accessibility and growth rates, and amounts of land protected from harvesting because of other use values.
∙ Borealis: of the North. Applied to many northern phenomena. If you want to learn more check out What is the main purpose of taxation?
∙ Culmination age: Age of economic maturity of the tree crop, usually 60 to 120 years.
∙ Global Intact Forest (IFLs): Landscapes large enough to retain native biodiversity which contain no signs of fragmentation by logging and infrastructure. We also discuss several other topics like What factors in britain and in the colonies made people indenture themselves?
∙ NonTimber Forest Product (NTFP): wild rice, mushrooms and berries, maple syrup, edible nuts, furs and hides, medicine, ornamental cuttings and seeds. We also discuss several other topics like What is the main idea of federalism?
∙ LongRange sustained yield (LRSY): Quantity of good that land should yield to perpetuity.
∙ Silviculture: Practice of directing the establishment, composition, growth, and quality of forests stands through a variety of activities, including harvesting, reforestation, and site preparation.
Hydrological Cycle in Canada: About 12 per cent is covered by lakes and rivers (groundwater is their key source). Various types of wetlands, all being hybrid aquatic and terrestrial systems, cover 14 per cent of Canada. Canada ranks between third and sixth in terms of renewable water supply (RWS). We also discuss several other topics like What is physiological psychology?
Diversion of water is completed because:
1. It increases water supplies for a given community
2. It deflects watercourses away from areas to be protected ex: from flooding
3. It enhances the capacity of a river so that it can be used to support activities ex: floating logs or passage of ships
4. It combines or consolidates water flows from several sources into one channel or route in order to facilitate hydroelectric generation
The James Bay Hydroelectric Project:
Governments and private corporations have pursued many megaprojects in Canada to meet energy demands, and virtually every region in the country has experienced such megaprojects. One that has garnered a great deal of national and international attention is the James Bay Project in Quebec.
What it is: A hydroelectric megaproject in northern Quebec, begun in the 1970s, that has involved extensive dams on the La Grande and other rivers and has flooded thousands of square kilometers of the James Bay Cree homeland. Proposed by Premier Robert Bourassa
Goal: Satisfy future electricity needs in Quebec.
Cost: 2 billion $. Increased to 14.6 billion $ over a 15year period.
Problems: The energy taken from rivers in a 350 000 km2 area of Quebec was the homeland of around 10 000 Cree and Inuit people. Also, two major diversions channeled water into La Grande basin and doubled the natural flow of the river.
When constructed, problems with: drinking water quality, maintaining traditional hunting activity, increased erosion along the banks of La Grande, alcohol abuse brought by contact with other communities through newly built road, high levels of mercury in fish caught in the reservoirs or connecting rivers (by 1985 the Cree stopped fishing in the LG2 area).
James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement:
November 11 1975. Agreement is the outcome of the Cree people’s fight against the hydroelectric megaproject. Approved by gov of Canada and Quebec’s national assembly. Includes provisions for environmental and social impact assessment for future developments, monetary compensation, economic and social development, and income security for Cree hunters and trappers.
James Bay II:
1985: Premier Bourassa announced project that would generate revenue through exports and attract energyintensive industries ex: aluminum and magnesium.
1986: Cree agree to completion of developments in La Grande basin but oppose the projects in other basins.
Read about effects of mercury pp 373374.
A central concern in water management is to ensure a sufficient quantity of water of adequate quality for human use. Current per capita water use extends from as little as 20 liters to more than 500 liters each day. The minimum water requirement to replace loss of fluid for a normal healthy adult in an average temperate climate is about 3 liters each day.
Canada: among the world’s highest per capita water users. 2009 lowest provincial use: Prince Edward Island with 189 L per capita a day, highest is Newfoundland and Labrador at 395 L per capita a day. Most Canadians use municipal water treatment but a significant number depend on private wells or other arrangements from ground water.
The Walkerton Inquiry:
Canadians realized their water system was not permeable to failure when a population of 5 000 experienced contamination of its water supply system by the deadly bacteria E. coli. 7 dead, 2300 ill.
Recommendations: multibarrier approach. Endorsed by federal and other provincial govs. Key components: source water protection, effective treatment of drinking water and secure distribution of treated water to consumers.
∙ Hydrological cycle: Water or aquatic resources are one component of a system that includes that atmosphere, cryosphere, biosphere and terrestrial components. More details p.367
∙ Multibarrier approach: Series of measures, each independently acting as a barrier to passing waterborne contaminants through the system to consumers. Failure in a barrier will not cause entire failure.
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