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the newsletter of the foothills model forest

spring 2005

Social Science Research Program celebrates 10 years


oothills Model Forest’s Social Science Research Program is celebrating ten years of helping land managers find ways to balance commercial and non-commercial demands on the forest landscape.

Partnering with the Canadian Forest Service’s Northern Forestry Centre in Edmonton, the

Social Science Program has so far directed research initiatives on socio-economic indicators and community sustainability, regional economic impact modelling, non-timber values relating to specific recreational uses and new ways to gauge public attitudes and preferences. Under the direction of Dr. Bill White, the Social Science Program was one of the first of its kind when it was established in 1995. “You could say Foothills Model Forest took something of a chance, as this kind of program wasn’t really established in any other model forest at the time,” explains Dr. White. A decade later, however, the risk has paid off. “We’ve been able to combine multiple disciplines on one landbase spanning the work of economists, sociologists, foresters and biologists,” he says. “To do that, you need co-operation from researchers, you need a landbase to do it on, and a group that encourages it to happen. The Foothills Model Forest deserves kudos for making this happen.” The Social Science Program has plans for ongoing work in forest sociology, economic modelling, non-timber valuation and the economic implications of climate change. “These projects all help policy makers in reaching socially acceptable decisions that drive us towards sustainable forest management,” says Dr. White. “The Social Science Program delivers key research that provides a tool for forest managers who need to integrate more subjective and qualitative data into forest management decisions.”

Spanning the work of economists, sociologists, foresters and biologists, the Foothills Model Forest has developed a wide-ranging Social Science Research Program that has investigated questions pertaining directly to the social and economic components of Sustainable Forest Management. Photo Credit: Foothills Model Forest

Robert Anderson, a senior public lands manager with Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, says public perception and input is critical to any activity on Crown land. “A lot of the work we do across the province is based on public perceptions, and how people react to what we do,” Anderson says. “We have to be sensitive in maintaining the balance between social, economic and ecologic values. That balance has to be there.” For more information contact Dr. Bill White at

CHANGING OF THE GUARD… As Bob Udell exits as president of the Foothills Model Forest, he leaves behind some pretty big shoes to fill. Udell co-chaired the task force to develop the original concept proposal for the model forest, and has been a key player ever since. He also ranks as the longestserving president in the Canadian Model Forest Network. As program leader for the Adaptive Forest Management Program and through his involvement with the Foothills Growth and Yield Association, Udell played a key role in elevating the model forest to take a leading role within the global network.

“It’s been very rewarding to see many of our research findings supporting creation of better land management tools – and better management practices – at home and abroad,” said Udell. “It’s also been good to see land and other resource managers working collaboratively together to develop a better understanding of each other’s responsibilities and challenges.” “Bob has been a cornerstone of the Foothills Model Forest and it will be sad to see him go,” said general manager Don Podlubny. “We are heartened that our connection will be maintained through our Adaptive Management Program, so

we haven’t totally lost his expertise and tremendous breadth of experience.” Jim LeLacheur (West Fraser Mills Ltd. in Hinton) was appointed Udell’s successor in March. The choice will make for a smooth transition, Podlubny said. “Jim’s been on our Board of Directors for a couple of years and I’ve enjoyed working with him,” he said. “Jim has a unique way of looking at things and we’re all really looking forward to working with his vision and leadership.”


Grizzly Bear Research Program is wide-ranging he Grizzly Bear Research Program


McFarlane. “Survey results illustrate room for

delivers superior planning tools into the

increased public education about the ecology

hands of land managers, scientists and

and biology of the grizzly,” she said.

the public at large. In fact, Alberta is one of

“Certainly there appear to be oppor-

the only jurisdictions able to draw upon


species management tools applicable over such

initiatives to fill in some of the gaps in





a large habitat area.

education,” McFarlane said. Results of the survey will spur efforts to dispel some myths being held by the public, as well as to encourage proper behaviour when in bear habitat, she says. Over the past five years, biologists at the model forest have worked closely with academia to develop a series of maps and models for grizzly habitat. Now, that research is being delivered directly into the hands of land managers and foresters that will ultimately lead to better practices. The maps identify such factors as movement corridors and probability of occurrence on a given landscape. Communications manager Lisa Jones said three workshops were presented this winter to

Are Albertans prepared to make trade-offs between economic and recreational activities, and conservation of grizzly bears? The Social Science Research Program endeavored to answer this question in 2004, while identifying public preferences for grizzly bear management in the Foothills Model Forest. Photo Credit: Foothills Model Forest

Having gained extensive data on bear

foresters with Alberta Sustainable Resource

habitat needs, scientists want to understand

Development, as well as individuals working



with forestry and oil and gas companies. “Our

priorities. The model forest partnered with the

goal is to see our research being used by

Canadian Forest Service last year to conduct a

industry and government on the ground,” said

public survey to gauge public perceptions of

Jones. “The workshops were designed to

the grizzly and of how the species is being

introduce practitioners and companies to some

managed. The survey illustrates a clear

of the tools we’ve developed, and proved to be


valuable in transferring knowledge gained








recreational trade-offs in order to ensure

through our Grizzly Bear Research Program.”

responsible habitat management, said Bonnie Mike Patriquin can be reached at McFarlane, senior human dimensions specialist at the Canadian Forest Service. Residents were polled in Jasper National Park, the model forest area outside park boundaries (i.e. residents of Hinton, Edson and surrounding





Edmonton. The survey of 1,700 people also identified educational opportunities for those involved in grizzly bear management, says

Issues affecting “human resource” studied actors behind drug and alcohol misuse in

“The findings will also illuminate key


resource-based communities go under

factors and implications associated with the

the microscope in a new Foothills Model

transition from union-based and larger-scale

Forest study.

industrial employment to non-union and

An initiative of the Social Science

contractor-based employment,” he said. “The

Research Program, the exploratory study is

study affords us the opportunity to gain a richer

steered by Canadian Forest Services sociologist

understanding of the emerging challenges in

John Parkins in conjunction with the Town

these resource-based communities.”

of Hinton and several other service agencies John Parkins can be reached at in the region. Parkins said researchers aim to identify the relationship between drug and alcohol issues and the economic structure of resource-based communities. They will identify the scope of the problem and its trigger factors, as well as some more particular directions for future research. “Our research will focus on the unique features that may make these communities vulnerable to substance misuse,” explains Parkins. “For example, to what extent do local employment conditions, such as shift work or minimum wage employment, combined with high levels of income among a large proportion of the population, contribute to certain social and health problems?” Such health issues affect not only communities and individuals, but also local industrial



interests which rely upon pools of local labor for an effective workforce, says Parkins.

Drug and alcohol abuse have potentially significant impacts on the economic future of resource-based communities in Alberta. Researchers hope to get a handle on those impacts by identifying links between drug and alcohol abuse and the economic structure of these communities. Photo Credit: Foothills Model Forest


Simulations allow a glimpse into the future

Hardisty Creek Restoration


Kreiner. “We’re able to generate the impacts on our

Forest have developed state-of-the-art

communities as we look at ‘go’ or ‘no go’ scenarios

economic modelling techniques that

in assessing a major development,” he said.





forecast alternate future scenarios.

The model could be valuable, for example,

Municipal and resource managers can use

in assessing the impact on Hinton of the $700-

these scenarios to weigh the impact of policy

million Cougar Rock development near town.

decisions or unforeseen “shocks” to the regional

“It could provide reasonable estimations of


manpower and economic flow in the area,”

Mike Patriquin, a forest economist with

Kreiner said.

the Canadian Forest Service, has helped develop

Patriquin said the simulation tool allows

an economic model for Foothills Model Forest

planners to see alternate futures brought about

and the regional landscape. The computable

by different conditions, and how they might

general equilibrium (CGE) economic impact

affect the natural resource sector and its

model accounts for a variety of economic

management. “It will allow us to proactively

indicators – industrial revenues, net regional


product, royalties and indirect taxes, labor

sustainability of the social and the forest

income and employment – all providing a






snapshot of the economy in a baseline year. Mike Patriquin can be reached at With several major accomplishments under its belt, the Hardisty Creek Restoration Project is focusing squarely on completion of its largest phase of work, which will lead to the development of a demonstration site in the heart of Hinton, Alberta. Photo Credit: Brian Carnell

The model then simulates future conditions in which the economy is confronted by issues such as policy changes, natural disturbances or global market upheavals. The Town of Hinton, for example, uses modelling to predict social and economic impacts

he Hardisty Creek Restoration






rehabilitate fish habitat and fish

passage on Hardisty Creek – has come a long way since 2002. Recently, through support from Alberta Eco-Trust and the Town of Hinton, initial work has been completed in the Kinsmen Park reach and will continue into 2005 with its focus on the Hardisty Avenue stream crossings. Additional work by Canadian National Railway resulted in remediation of their stream crossing in 2003-04 by committing some $100,000 to the project. A host of local residents also assisted in the project through willow planting along the remediation area. Later this spring, interpretive signage will be installed near the CN crossing. Rich McCleary can be reached at

of a major initiative, such as the Cheviot Coal Mine, said town manager Bernie

Economic modelling techniques are allowing resource managers to forecast the social and economic impacts of proposed developments on local communities. This ‘window’ is giving planners an opportunity to prepare for those impacts to ensure the sustainability of economic and social values that exist in the Foothills Model Forest and beyond. Photo Credit: Pat Golec


Aboriginal communities gather data manager Don Podlubny said communities and

The Foothills Model Forest Board of


progress being made by the Aboriginal

industry are currently working to define the

Directors includes a seat for non-status and

Initiative Program. “There have been

referral process, which will “streamline the

status Aboriginal representatives as well as an

some hiccups along the way, but we’re confident

logistics on the landbase.”

opportunity for a third seat for a Métis

esearch managers are positive about

about the strong contribution that traditional








knowledge can make to future sustainability of

communities that have indicated an interest in

our forests,” said project consultant Terry Garvin.

traditional use on the land, a company may

For more information contact

Of 17 Aboriginal communities in the model

need to approach 13 different First Nations

Don Podlubny at

forest area, two communities have now

communities,” said Podlubny. A referral process

embarked on a Traditional Culture Study. The

would smooth the process for both sides.

Traditional Culture Study is a comprehensive

Podlubny said Alberta Sustainable Resource

collection of traditional knowledge that

Development has recently committed $100,000 to

embodies the Aboriginal way of life and how

the program, and the oil and gas industry has

it’s connected with the land, explained Garvin.

been approached for

“It would include such information as locations


of spiritual areas, gravesites, berry and food


gathering areas and trapline locations. “Through the Aboriginal Initiative Program, communities, industry and government will learn about how traditional knowledge can be applied to forest management.” Each



collects its own data, and the Foothills Model Forest supplies the expertise and resources to facilitate the process. For example, Garvin is helping coordinators in each of the communities develop skills in interviewing and use of global




instrumentation. Mapping and interview material will be downloaded into a geographic information system (GIS) database. The advisory group has developed a





communities that all information they collect is theirs and remains their property, said Garvin. At the same time Foothills Model Forest staff are working on development of a referral process between Aboriginal communities and industry.





Traditional knowledge is an important component of Sustainable Forest Management. In an effort to capture that knowledge, the Foothills Model Forest is assisting Aboriginal communities to undertake and complete traditional culture studies with a long-term goal of developing a referral protocol that aims to smooth the referral process between industry and the communities. Photo Credit: Foothills Model Forest, West Fraser Mills Ltd.

NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING The Foothills Model Forest Annual General Meeting is June 22, 2005 in Edmonton, Alberta. To register, contact Sheri Fraser at 780-817-3781 or email

POST-HARVEST STAND DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE Foothills Model Forest, Alberta Forest Genetic Resources Council, Foothills Growth and Yield Association and the Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA) are partners and sponsors of the Post-Harvest Stand Development Conference. The conference is January 31 and February 1, 2006 in Edmonton. The conference theme is the integration of knowledge from the disciplines of genetics, silviculture and forest health into the prediction of stand development, growth and yield following harvesting. Each of the above disciplines has accumulated a vast array of information on factors affecting forest development and growth. However, much of this work remains unused in growth and yield models and not applied in decisionmaking. The conference is designed to transfer knowledge between these disciplines and forest management policy-makers. To learn more about the conference visit or contact Lisa Jones at 780-865-8329 or email

NATURAL DISTURBANCE SHORT-COURSE Foothills Model Forest is partnering with the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology on a Natural Disturbance Short-Course. The short-course will introduce foresters and others involved in land management about natural disturbance science in the context of forest

management. The short-course is scheduled to be complete by the Fall of 2005. For more information contact Lisa Jones at 780-865-8329 or email

CARIBOU LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION Twelve organizations have agreed to form a new partnership for conservation of the Little Smoky and A La Peche caribou herds in west-central Alberta. Through the newly established Caribou Landscape Management Association, members will pool resources to: • Reduce their future ecological footprint on the home ranges of the above two herds; • Restore the existing footprint to improve caribou habitat; • Improve funding for caribou monitoring and research; • Work with the Alberta government to recover caribou populations. Now that the Association is formed, a next step is the development of a work-plan. For more information about the Caribou Landscape Management Association contact Rick Bonar at 780-865-8193 or email

SUMMER INTERPRETIVE PROGRAMS Foothills Model Forest delivers Interpretive Programs about its research and science in Jasper National Park and William A. Switzer Provincial Park. For a complete listing of interpretive programs visit or contact Greg Nelson at 780-865-8311 or email

NEW WEBSITES Canadian Model Forest Network – The Canadian Model Forest Network has launched a new website.

Box 6330 Hinton Alberta Canada T7V 1X6

Events, news and publications from Canada’s 11 model forests are available in one spot. Visit to access Sustainable Forest Management knowledge and tools. The Highway 40 North Demonstration Project – Spanning 70,000 hectares, the goal of the Highway 40 North Demonstration Project is to test the application of a natural disturbance approach to forest management planning. Years of natural disturbance research, insights and partner experience will be used as the basis for forest management planning and practices. The question driving this project is: Will this new approach to forest management conserve the area’s caribou, grizzly bear and bull trout habitat while sustaining its rich cultural, economic and recreational values? Learn more about this innovative project at

STAY IN THE LOOP Foothills Model Forest holds many events to increase awareness and knowledge about its Sustainable Forest Management research. Interested in attending? Contact Fran Hanington at 780-865-8330 or email, she’ll be sure to send you updates and information about model forest events.

STANDING POLICY COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT TOURS FOOTHILLS MODEL FOREST George Vanderburg, chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Energy and Sustainable Development hosted his colleagues on a tour of the Foothills Model Forest. Members of Alberta’s Government are interested in learning about the Foothills Model Forest’s approach to integrated land management. Working with Alberta’s policy makers is critical to the overall success of the Foothills Model Forest and the advancement of Sustainable Forest Management.

T: 780.865.8330 F: 780.865.8331

email: web:

In 1992, Natural Resources Canada, through the Canadian Forest Service, initiated Canada’s Model Forest Program. The program has successfully built partnerships and conducted sustainable forest management research across Canada. Emphasis is now shifting to the application of model forest research and tools. The Foothills Model Forest, located in Hinton, Alberta, is an original member in the Canadian Model Forest Network. The sponsoring partners of the Foothills Model Forest are Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Canadian Forest Service, Jasper National Park and West Fraser Mills Ltd. Each sponsor makes a five-year commitment to the organization. The land that each partner manages is included in the 2.75 million hectare Foothills Model Forest land base. Together these sponsors demonstrate their commitment to advancing sustainable forest management in Alberta and Canada.

FMF-006 Newsletter V3  

land managers find ways to balance commercial and non-commercial demands on the Robert Anderson, a senior public lands manager with Alberta...

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