THEME 2

Theme 2

FFF Healthy Forests, Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems

Forests area key resource industry in Canada, and aquatic ecosystem services (AES)
should be a central component of forest management practices. However, poor under

standing of how forest ecosystems attributes regulate these AES, an increasing shift
from harvesting for wood products to supplying biofuels to meet emerging markets,
and complexities posed by predicted changes to Canada’s climate have all hindered
formal integration of AES into the decision making progress.

A comprehensive understanding of the controls on AES in forest landscapes via hypoth

esis testing will be developed using data collected from monitoring, experimental
manipulation, modeling, and scenario planning. Leveraging previous investments in
catchment studies across Canada and working closely with our partners, a predictive
understanding of the multiple stressors associated with forest management and
explore the links and trajectories of process controls on AES will be developed. This will
underpin evaluations of the cumulative effects of forest management on these services.
These results and partner participation within and among Themes will support scenario
analyses to forecast future forest conditions and explore trade-offs between ecological
and socio-economic risks in order to identify desired futures and management options
to achieve these futures. AES indicators along with cumulative effect stresses and
responses developed through the research will be used to evaluate strategies for forest
protection, and compensation and mitigation strategies for offsetting impacts of
disturbed forest lands on AES. The evaluation will result in a framework that can be
implemented by government and industry to develop management policies and practic

es that ensure ongoing provision of AES. Forest management will have a critical influ

ence on the future supply of AES upon which many communities depend; this research
will develop strategies for ensuring sustained delivery of these services that can inform
policy at a national scale.

Key Objectives:

Use an integrated approach to explore first the reference condition of AES and then
the effects of forest management practices, specifically forest harvesting on AES
Determine how AES responds to disturbance by measuring targeted and rigorously
evaluated indicators of the structural and functional integrity of the catchments (i.e.
health) that can provide meaningful estimates of the value of these services to down

stream users
Integrate catchment studies from across Canada that include gradients of naturally and
anthropogenically disturbed forest catchments to address how underlying differences
in climate geology, topography, soils, forest types and disturbance regime affect the
sustainability and delivery of the AES water purification, storage and flood control
Design a series of manipulative experiments to test hypotheses about the mechanistic
interactions among physical, chemical and biological responses to forest disturbance
and how these affect AES
Identify the driving forces that influence ecosystem services in forested aquatic ecosys

tems, define critical uncertainties in the determination of these drivers, describe major
characteristics of alternative scenarios, and develop logical forest management policy
and practice options and an associated set of indicators that target desired future
forest states
Integrate the theoretical advancements generated by network researchers and part

ners using scenarios associated with future landscapes
Combine ecological and socioeconomic perspectives in assessing the best combination
of planning versus incentivized approaches to managing AES

PROJECTS

2.1A – Physical, chemical and biological indicators of aquatic ecosystem services from headwaters of forested landscapes.
Junting Guo, University of Western Ontario

2.1B – Physical, chemical and biological indicators of aquatic ecosystem services from headwaters of forested landscapes.
Junting Guo, University of Western Ontario

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