Persistence and developmental transition of wide seismic lines in the western Boreal Plains of Canada.

Integrated Landscape Management Program, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta., Canada.
Journal of Environmental Management (Impact Factor: 3.19). 03/2006; 78(3):240-50. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2005.03.016
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study examined the fate of seismic lines utilized in oil and gas exploration in Canada's western Boreal Plains. It retrospectively followed the persistence, recovery and developmental transition of seismic lines established between the 1960s and the mid-1970s through to 2003. We examined lines that passed through three forest types; aspen, white spruce, and lowland black spruce. In general, the recovery rates of seismic lines to woody vegetation were low. After 35 years, 8.2% of seismic lines across all forest types had recovered to greater than 50% cover of woody vegetation. Only the upland forest types recovered; aspen and white spruce. Most seismic lines ( approximately 65% at 35 years) remained in a cleared state with a cover of low forbs. The most common transition for seismic lines was to tracked access ( approximately 20% at 35 years). Transition to other anthropogenic developments such as roads, pipelines, buildings, and timber harvest blocks was 5% after 35 years. The pulse of industrial activity initiated in the mid-1990s greatly increased the transition rate of seismic to tracked access for a short period of time. The discussion focused on natural and anthropogenic factors that hinder recovery and on the management directions that would facilitate greater recovery rates.

Download full-text


Available from: Stan A Boutin, Jun 17, 2015
1 Follower
  • Source
    Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing 12/2014; DOI:10.1080/07038992.2014.987375
  • Source
    Canadian Journal of Forest Research 02/2015; 45(6):150211143437000. DOI:10.1139/cjfr-2014-0546 · 1.66 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Development of hydrocarbon resources across northwest Canada has spurred economic prosperity and generated concerns over impacts to biodiversity. To balance these interests, numerous jurisdictions have adopted management thresholds that allow for limited energy development but minimize undesirable impacts to wildlife. Used for exploration, seismic lines are the most abundant linear feature in the boreal forest and exist at a variety of widths and recovery states. We used American marten (Martes americana) as a model species to measure how line attributes influence species' response to seismic lines, and asked whether responses to individual lines trigger population impacts. Marten response to seismic lines was strongly influenced by line width and recovery state. Compared to forest interiors, marten used open seismic lines ≥ 3 m wide less often, but used open lines ≤ 2 m wide and partially recovered lines ≥ 6 m wide similarly. Marten response to individual line types appeared to trigger population impacts. The probability of occurrence at the home range scale declined with increasing seismic line density, and the inclusion of behavioral response to line density calculations improved model fit. In our top performing model, we excluded seismic lines ≤ 2 m from our calculation of line density, and the probability of occurrence declined > 80% between home ranges with the lowest and highest line densities. Models that excluded seismic lines did not strongly explain occurrence. We show how wildlife-derived metrics can inform regulatory guidelines to increase the likelihood those guidelines meet intended management objectives. With respect to marten, not all seismic lines constitute disturbances, but avoidance of certain line types scales to population impacts. This approach provides the ecological context required to understand cause and effect relationships among socio-economic and ecological conservation goals.
    PLoS ONE 03/2015; 10(3):e0118720. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0118720 · 3.53 Impact Factor