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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An evaluative framework for forested areas in the rural-urban interface McLelan, Michael Gary


The benefits of forests in any landscape can be described in environmental, social, and economic terms. This study deals with the environmental and social benefits of forests, and is confined to the land area between predominantly urban and rural areas, termed the rural-urban interface. Forest cover in the rural-urban interface is usually substantial and significant in terms of providing environmental and social benefits. However, intense urban and other development in this zone, over time, results in an incremental removal of the forest resource, resulting in a loss of associated environmental and social benefits. To ensure that the benefits of forested areas are considered in land use planning in the rural-urban interface, an evaluative framework is presented which provides a measure of the "quality" or importance of individual forested areas in this zone. Forested areas are rated out of 100 points for the benefits of: (1) wildlife habitat, (2) water resources, (3) environmentally sensitive areas, and (4) recreation. To test the effectiveness of the evaluative framework, twelve forested areas in a rural-urban interface (District of Surrey, British Columbia) are evaluated for the above four benefits. The results of the evaluation indicate that "quality" of forested areas is largely a function of the biophysical diversity exhibited by the forested area. The quality ratings obtained for the twelve forested areas appear to accurately reflect the relative importance of the forested areas in the landscape. To incorporate forested areas into integrated land use planning, a procedure is presented which is based on output provided by the evaluative framework. Management guidelines corresponding to various categories of forested area quality are outlined which recommend allowable limits of development in forested areas. Recommendations are made for a "forested area plan" for the rural-urban interface based on this information. Lastly, various legal and related techniques are listed which can be used to achieve retention objectives set out in the management guidelines.

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