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Swallow B.M.,University of Alberta | Goddard T.W.,Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management

Purpose – This paper aims to track the development of climate policy in the province of Alberta, Canada, particularly the province’s unique greenhouse gas emission offset mechanism. The analysis shows how the policy has influenced, and been influenced by, policy processes at the national and international levels. Design/methodology/approach – The paper begins with an analytical framework that recognizes different types of influence between international, national and provincial climate policy processes. That framework is used to structure a review of four historical periods of climate policy change: prior to 1992, 1992 to 2002, 2002 to 2012 and between 2012 and mid-2015. Findings – The analysis illustrates the interplay between the Alberta approach to climate policy and the international and national policy contexts. A period of intense policy conflict between Canada’s federal and provincial governments led to a situation in which the Alberta Government sought to lead rather than follow national policy. Subsequent periods have seen the Canadian national government oscillate between following the lead of Alberta or the USA. Research limitations/implications – Rather than national and international policies simply setting the context for Alberta’s policy, the paper identifies multiple flows of influence between the three levels of governance. The results illustrate the need to consider forward and backward flows of influence between the different levels of government that set climate change policies. Elements of several models of policy change are supported. Practical implications – The Alberta climate mitigation policy has many elements that can be effective in reducing carbon emissions in a way that is both flexible and predictable. These elements are of interest to other jurisdictions. Other elements of the current policy, however, limit its effectiveness in reducing emissions. More concerted policy action is needed to mitigate carbon emissions in Alberta for Canada to meet its agreed targets. Originality/value – No other paper has tracked the historical evolution of climate policy at the provincial/state level in a way that clarifies the forward and backward linkages with national and international policy. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Source

Li C.,Natural Resources Canada | Huang S.,Alberta Agriculture and Forestry | Sidders D.,Natural Resources Canada
Landscape Ecology

Context: A challenging issue in landscape ecology is the evaluation of changes in a forest landscape following a disturbance. This evaluation usually entails examining changes in the forest inventory, which represents the best information available for a given forest region. Objectives: Our aim was to extend existing methods used to evaluate forest inventory to include additional variables, such as value-based forest product options, wood fibre attributes, and ecosystem services. Inclusion of such variables in forest inventory evaluations would allow research results to be presented from an economic perspective, which is often required for policy development and forest management decision-making. Methods: We developed a value-based framework to evaluate forest inventory and implemented it in the wood fibre value simulation model. We then used a local data set from Manitoba, Canada, to show how the model can be applied to the mapping of new inventory layers to facilitate the evaluation of landscape changes. Results: Five new inventory layers are mapped including bioenergy and heating value that can be directly used for evaluating landscape changes, and wood density, fibre length, and pulp yield, which can be combined with total wood volume to derive new variables or indices to express changes in landscape conditions. Conclusions: Our model can contribute to the assessment of landscape changes by indicating the values a forest can have when it is used for different conservation or utilization purposes. The model can also support improved decision-making with respect to the management of forest resources. © 2016 Her Majesty the Queen in Rights of Canada Source

Larney F.J.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Li L.,Gansu Agricultural University | Janzen H.H.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Angers D.A.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Olson B.M.,Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Canadian Journal of Soil Science

Inter-relationships among soil erosion, soil quality, soil resilience, and legacy effects of organic amendments have not been adequately quantified. Topsoil was mechanically removed (cuts) to simulate erosion in semiarid southern Alberta in 1990. Three cuts (0, 10, and 20 cm) superimposed with three one-time (1990 only) amendment treatments (check, N + P fertilizer, and manure) were chosen for this study. In the absence of amendments, light fraction C (CLF) and mineralizable C (Cmin) recovered sufficiently by 2004 to render the cut effect nonsignificant. Organic C (Corg) responded more slowly with the 10-cm cut recovering to the 0-cm cut concentration by 2004, and the 20-cm cut (13.9 g kg−1) remaining significantly lower than the 0-cm cut concentration (16.3 g kg−1) through to 2012. Nitrogen fractions behaved similarly. Among cuts and years (2004 and 2012), C fraction values were 19-27% greater on the manure versus check treatment (17.5 vs. 14.7 g kg−1 for Corg, 1.38 vs. 1.09 g kg−1 for CLF, and 650 vs. 531 mg kg−1 for Cmin) demonstrating a strong legacy effect of manure. Water-stable aggregation exhibited a 22-yr legacy effect of manure. Our findings help quantify soil resilience following major disturbance and legacy effects of one-time manure application under semiarid conditions. © 2016, Agricultural Institute of Canada. All rights reserved. Source

Gray L.K.,University of Alberta | Rweyongeza D.,Alberta Agriculture and Forestry | Hamann A.,University of Alberta | John S.,Isabella Point Forestry Ltd. | Thomas B.R.,University of Alberta
Forest Ecology and Management

The growing concern of the impact of climate change in forestry has prompted tree improvement programs and regulatory agencies to integrate climate change adaptation in the production and use of tree seed. In support of such adaptation strategies, we conducted a case study for lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl.) in Alberta, Canada. We compared the tree height for populations and families planted across 37 progeny and provenance trials when transferred among six physiogeographically and climatically distinct breeding regions. Based on these results we infer how lodgepole populations and families are adapted to current climate conditions and how they might respond to future changes in climate. Interestingly, in almost all regions we found that local populations grew better than introduced sources, suggesting that in the current climate the use of local populations is still an appropriate reforestation strategy with some exceptions. Notably, in cool and wet higher elevation environments (between 1050 and 1650 m), local populations were outgrown by populations originating from warmer lower elevation regions. Moreover, these higher elevation populations were always outgrown when transferred to other regions. A number of transfers among regions were identified that ensure productivity gains under recent climate conditions, and simultaneously represent a short term adaptation measure for warming of about +0.5 °C. Further, we provide a database for selection of families within breeding populations to enhance their resilience to climate change. © 2016 Elsevier B.V. Source

Li C.,Natural Resources Canada | Huang S.,Alberta Agriculture and Forestry | Barclay H.,Natural Resources Canada | Sidders D.,Natural Resources Canada
Journal of Sustainable Forestry

Although sustainable forest management is accepted worldwide in concept, challenges in the methods of implementation remain. Using local data sets from Alberta, Canada, we show that a simulation approach can assist the implementation of sustainable forest management by improved understanding of product potential and other forest ecosystem goods and services that forests can provide for a given forest inventory. This will assist facilitating trade-offs among them for an optimal wood utilization strategy to achieve sustainable forest management. In this example, effects of wood utilization standard on merchantable volume, lumber volume, and number of trees that can produce at least one piece of lumber are quantified, and a conversion method for wood volumes under different wood utilization standards is presented. Wood utilization standard is the combination of stump height and diameter inside bark at merchantable height, which considerably influences available volume quantity of forest resource. However, such influences have not been quantified for sustainable forest management implementation. Our results not only confirmed that merchantable and lumber volumes increased with decreasing stump height and diameter inside bark at merchantable height, but also revealed that this trend will not hold when diameter inside bark at merchantable height is less than 7 cm. © 2016 Taylor & Francis Source

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