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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Development of ecologically-based planning tools for managing cumulative effects in Jasper National Park: the ecosite representation and breeding bird habitat effectiveness models Dobson, Brenda


Increasingly, National Park Managers have begun to recognize the importance of understanding, assessing and managing cumulative effects. In Jasper National Park, the rarest habitat, namely the montane, contains the greatest intensity of human use and development in the park. I developed the Ecosite Representation and Breeding Bird Habitat Effectiveness Models to contribute to an established framework for assessing and managing cumulative effects in the high use area of the park. The Breeding Bird Model integrates call-count survey results, data delineating habitat types and quantifying human use with parameters developed from the literature in an Arc/info GIS. Similarly, the Ecosite Representation Model integrates habitat and human use data with a set of parameters derived from the literature. To assess cumulative effects on breeding bird habitat, I describe a functional relationship depicting the response of breeding bird species detected in the surveys to human activity and development. The relationship for ecosite representation assumes that within a disturbance distance of a human use feature, habitat is degraded. Through these relationships, data layers are integrated to predict cumulative effects, expressed as a change in the effectiveness of habitat for the indicators. This method tracks how the area lost and degraded changes over time and in response to different land use scenarios. Prior to using the models, I conducted a sensitivity analysis identifying the sources and influence of ecological uncertainty on model results. Following this, I completed a cumulative effects analysis which indicates that failure to assess and act on cumulative effects has resulted in impacts on both indicators concentrated in a group of montane habitat types. Development in Three Valley Confluence has predominantly been concentrated in eight habitat types, some of which are rare in abundance and the most important in the park for supporting breeding bird richness. Therefore, I recommend strategic land use planning to ensure new development and expansion does not continue within these habitat types and restoration efforts be undertaken to improve conditions for both indicators. I present several realistic options including planning based on clustering development, reducing access points, restoration and continuing development of a framework for cumulative effects assessment and management.

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