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Funded Projects

In the fall of 2020, the ARCKP awarded our first three projects, followed by an additional three in 2021. Some of these are still underway; reports are available on our Project Reports page. Descriptions of all ARCKP-funded projects to date are below.

Onging Projects

Study to advance harvest system and silviculture practices for improved woodland caribou and fibre outcomes

This multi-faceted study is being completed by the fRI Research Caribou Program over a three-year period. Areas it will explore include:

  • Current stand characteristics of areas with documented woodland caribou use in various regions of Alberta. 
  • The likelihood of harvested areas producing future woodland caribou habitat, and how this potentially differs between fire and harvest disturbances. 
  • Whether historical harvest blocks and wildfires within various regions of the province are on a trajectory to produce future woodland caribou habitat and silvicultural options available to produce optimal caribou habitat over time in harvested stands.
  • Gaps and opportunities in Alberta’s forest policies for regional silviculture treatments with the potential to improve the trajectory of harvested stands to become caribou habitat while still meeting desired fibre volume objectives.

Reconciling pre-industrial patterns, caribou habitat and management reality

For this three-year study, fRI Research’s Healthy Landscape Program will seek to:

  • Obtain a better understanding of if, and to what degree, spatial clustering of anthropogenic disturbances is possible to create on the ground, and how it varies under different conditions and policy scenarios.
  • Assess the potential impact of various scenarios on woodland caribou habitat and other values.
  • Understand if natural range of variation (NRV) aligns with proposed harvesting pattern changes to improve woodland caribou habitat outcomes and whether forest management activities can closely approximate these.

An evaluation of the feasibility of terrestrial lichen seeding and/or transplantation

Awarded to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) Plant and Seed Technology Access Centre (P&S TAC), this three-year study seeks to achieve the following:

  • Provide a critical review of research advances on lichen transplantation and seeding technologies and interpret the results for application in caribou habitat restoration.
  • Better understand the efficacy of these methods, and the site conditions that best promote their success.
  • Understand how optimal site conditions and the best corresponding seeding and transplant techniques might vary between ecologically different regions of the province.
  • Explore how the logistical and economical challenges of implementing these techniques can be overcome.

Completed Projects

Reports for the projects below are published on our Project Reports page.

Understanding options for, and value of, alternative harvesting and silvicultural approaches for promoting woodland caribou habitat within coniferous forests and deciduous/mixedwood forests

This review was conducted by FORCORP Solutions Ltd.. Key objectives included:

  • Identifying alternative harvesting and silvicultural systems that are applicable to Alberta’s forests and investigating them through the lens of caribou biology and habitat requirements.
  • Providing a description of silvicultural systems, their use, outcomes and applicability to the boreal forests of Alberta.
  •  Assessing each system in terms of resulting vegetation dynamics and how this relates to caribou use and to use by other ungulate species, while considering regional differences.
  • For techniques that have a potential benefit to caribou, assessing the trade-offs involved in implementation, including access requirements, harvest and reforestation costs and other economic implications.
  • Assessing the climate resiliency for each silvicultural system being reviewed.

Exploring the implementation of aggregated harvest in woodland caribou ranges compared to current and other potential harvesting approaches on: ecological outcomes for woodland caribou, other species/values and socio-economic and operational considerations

Also awarded to FORCORP, this 10-month project had a strong operational focus for forestry managers. Key project outcomes included:

  • Exploring the questions “In different regions of the province, will aggregated harvest approaches work to improve caribou habitat outcomes, how can they be tailored to work most effectively for caribou and provide for a working landscape, and what will the trade-offs be for other values, both ecological and socioeconomic?”
  • Providing additional knowledge on the nuances of the aggregated harvest approach, in terms of the relatively unexplored question of how the scale of implementation affects outcomes.
  • Testing a range of different aggregated harvest scenarios against business as usual (BAU) approaches (existing Spatial Harvest Sequences) to compare different harvest levels, spatial layouts, and re-entry rules.
  • Providing an assessment of the impact of the tested scenarios on caribou habitat and a wide range of other species and values and socio-economic metrics.
  • Developing a methodology to test how the scale of aggregation affects outcomes. 

Review of Alberta’s Integrated Land Management policies, practices and legislation

Awarded to the Foothills Landscape Management Forum, this review was completed in May 2021. As deliverables for this project, the consultants:

  • Conducted a thorough literature review and structured interviews to synthesize ILM practices in Alberta and review and analyze ILM practices used in other comparable jurisdictions.
  • Provided a review of Alberta’s ILM policy potential and identify useful cross-sector communication/collaboration techniques.
  • Collated draft recommendations for cross-industry ILM approaches for improved woodland caribou habitat outcomes and tested these in a one-day stakeholder workshop to help inform the final recommendations for the project report.