Pipeline Infrastructure Bulletin: Numbers and Datasets Inconsistent and Incomplete

(2017-07-25)  Canada is a significant energy producer, with oil and gas accounting for approximately 7.3 percent of Canada’s GDP. In recent years, the construction of oil and gas pipelines has been particularly controversial for a variety of reasons including the risk of spills, wider concerns about climate change and other environmental impacts of fossil fuels, as well as increasing recognition of aboriginal rights and title to the land that pipelines cross. Global Forest Watch Canada examined the extent of the pipeline network in Canada and collected geospatial datasets of pipelines to assess whether the datasets qualify as open data and how comprehensive they appear to be. What we found was surprising.

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Expanding Human Disturbance Footprint in Quebec's Broadback River Watershed

(2016-10-20) Mapping analyses from satellite images shows that the Broadback River watershed, and the boreal forest to the south and east of it, experienced a significant expansion of human development between 1980 and 2015. The analyses, conducted by Global Forest Watch Canada (GFWC), examined the length of linear and area-based disturbances in the Broadback River watershed.

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Anthropogenic Disturbance in the Broadback River Watershed, Quebec (1980-2015)

 (2016-10-20) These datasets show the extent of anthropogenic disturbances mapped by GFWC in the Broadback River Watershed region based on Landsat imagery from 1980 to 2015. Three datasets are available for download: (1) linear disturbances; (2) polygonal disturbances; and (3) a dataset in which the linear and polygonal disturbance datasets were buffered by 500m to account for an ecological footprint and combined. The disturbance data in all three datasets is separated into 5-year time periods, from 1980 to 2015. 

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Bulletin: Time Series Analyses of Anthropogenic Disturbance in the Broadback River Watershed, Quebec

(2016-10-20) This bulletin presents the results of time series analyses of anthropogenic industrial disturbance in the Broadback River watershed in Quebec, as well as an area to the south and east. The results reveal a steady increase in both linear and area-based disturbances. Logging and associated road development are the most significant contributors to the cumulative growth of human impacts; however, there are still opportunities to ensure that further development is minimized in the watershed.

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Bulletins 2 & 3. Linear Disturbance in the Castle and Implications for Grizzly Bear and Trout

(2016-09-20) The second and third bulletins in this series on disturbance issues in the Castle Wilderness examine the length of linear disturbances and their density in the newly proposed parks. There was a total of 1,823 km of linear features (e.g. roads, trails, and transmission lines). The density of linear disturbances in the provincial park was 3.5 km/km2, while in the wildland provincial park it was just over 1 km/km2. Thresholds described in the scientific literature to maintain core habitat for grizzly bears are 0.6 km/km2 and 0.69 km/km2 for bull trout.  The third bulletin details findings of analyses regarding the density of disturbances in relation to grizzly bear habitat, as well as westslope cutthroat and trout habitat.

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Human Footprint in Alberta’s Newest Proposed Parks Already an Issue

(2016-09-20) “Our analysis shows the extent of linear disturbances in the Castle is already too high to maintain or enhance ecological integrity, particularly in the proposed provincial park,” said Wynet Smith, Executive Director of GFWC. “Much of the linear disturbances need to be removed and rehabilitated if the Castle is to meet its ecological objectives of water security and habitat for species at risk.” 

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Decrease in Canada’s large intact forest landscapes between 2000 and 2013

(2016-07-05) Global Forest Watch Canada has just released its newest iteration of Canada’s intact forest landscapes layer, noting a significant decrease in their area. Intact forest landscapes are becoming increasingly rare at the global level. They are also growing in importance as reference points for understanding managed forest landscapes and designing management schemes that preserve or restore significant aspects of the natural forest landscape.

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Canada's Intact Forest Landscapes Updated to 2013 (Bulletin)

(2016-07-05) Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs) are the last remaining areas of forest and non-forest ecosystems that are at least 500 km2 in size and untouched by roads or other significant human activity. Canada, together with Russia and Brazil, contain 65% of all the world’s IFLs. But these pristine forests are becoming increasingly disturbed, and research shows that even without deforestation this degradation and fragmentation is enough to threaten biodiversity around the world. Global Forest Watch Canada (GFWC) has recently updated its IFL data to 2013, using the best available data, including Landsat satellite imagery and Environment Canada disturbance data.

GFWC found that:

  • Almost 5% (216,199 km2) of Canada’s IFLs were degraded or fragmented by human activity between 2000 and 2013. IFLs covered 4.5 million km2 of Canada in 2000 compared to 4.3 million km2 in 2013.
  • Four provinces—Quebec, Alberta, Ontario, and British Columbia—accounted for 71% of the 216,199 kmof human disturbances. 
  • 11.7% (just over 500,000 km2) of IFLs were located within forestry tenures as of 2013.
  • 25.5% of Canada’s forestry tenures were covered by IFLs in 2013.
  • 17.5% (750,851 km2) of 2013 IFLs were located within interim and permanent protected areas. 

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Forest Monitoring from Satellites in the Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) Region

(2014-11-12) For the Y2Y region, Global Forest Watch Canada conducted a “first-look” analysis of forest extent and forest change, both loss and gain, for the period 2000-2012. We performed this analysis for three reasons: (1) to demonstrate the utility of powerful, new, freely-available satellite-based technologies; (2) to begin monitoring the key forest ecosystems of the Y2Y region, an area that is the focus of one of the planet's leading conservation initiatives; (3) to contribute to strategic discussions regarding where to focus conservation energies and resources for the forests of the Y2Y region.

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Canada’s southern and western landscapes heavily fragmented

(2014-01-09) “We produced this mapping and analysis using a range of datasets, including satellite images, to map the extent of Canada’s  accessed and fragmented landscapes. The results show an overall steady increase in accessed and fragmented landscapes from the turn of the 21st century, especially in southern and western Canada.”

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