Manitoba Wilderness And Forestry
Manitoba’s natural region and landscape comprises a lot of forest land, both the boreal forest and the mixed wood. Approximately, 35% of the forest region is comprised of productive forest land. The remaining 65% comprises of geological structures, lakes, rivers, wetlands, slopes, and significant elevations, muskeg, and human development and infrastructure.
That being said, it is important to note that Manitoba’s natural forest regions do not have a completed network of protected areas. However, Manitoba Conservation does have numerous Areas of Special Interest (ASIs) under design and review with the intention of providing these areas in the Manitoba’s forest region with the protected status.
This a critical development as Manitoba’s boreal forest regions is in need of urgent and comprehensive protection in light of the pending developments, which will include forest development and other types of developments. The last major establishment of a protected area in a natural forest region was made in 1999. Only minor protected areas have been established since then.
Forests And People In Manitoba
The vast majority of Manitoba’s 1.2 million are individuals and communities that live and thrive in Manitoba’s forests. For instance, there are several cities and towns, including Thompson, The Pas, etc. There are also 62 First Nations communities that have reserve lands in various locations within the forest. Furthermore, there are 50 Northern Affairs communities that mainly comprise of Métis.
Manitoba's Boreal Forests
Manitoba’s largest and most significant forest zone, The Boreal Forest is also the largest ecological community and the largest biome. Also known as the Northern Coniferous forest, the forest zone stretches across one-third of Manitoba. It covers the central and the north-central section of the province, spanning between Manitoba’s two main lakes. It also stretches down on the east side of Lake Winnipeg and across to our Eastern border and into Ontario.
Manitoba’s forest region is dominated by poplar, jack pine, and white spruce in the uplands while the fens and lowlands bogs contain black spruce. However, there is more to Manitoba’s boreal. In these areas, you will find peat bogs, cold lakes, rivers, wetlands, muskeg, and many other features dotting the area.
On the human activities fronts, the industrial developments found within Manitoba’s boreal forest including hydro-electric production activities, mining, and forest operations. However, since a significant portion of the boreal region have not been allocated and, therefore, not impacted by human development and infrastructure such as roads, Tourism is potentially a significant economic activity.
For more information on Manitoba’s boreal forest, visit the Wildland’s Boreal Forest page. Therein you will learn more about the boreal forest, species, and the overall forest ecosystems. You will also learn about the need to conserve the forest and the efforts currently being made.
Corridors And Roads In Manitoba's Boreal
Assessing the developmental impacts on the boreal forest is a daunting endeavor. For starters, the overall impact cannot be fully understood as most impact studies only focus on the small area where the actual development is taking place. As such, a small impact footprint is only studied, thereby ignoring the effects that take place beyond the development area.
Linear disturbances are disturbance events that disrupt the structure of an ecosystem, population, or a community, thereby changing the availability and distribution of resources in the environment. This disturbance form and line pattern in the general landscape.
Linear disturbances that arise from human developmental activities (some are caused by natural phenomena) create corridors in the areas, which in turn cause adverse negative side effects to the overall ecosystem and the flora and fauna in the boreal forest. For instance, the corridors cause fragmentation, a phenomenon where linear disturbances cause a large and continuous mass of land to divide into two smaller patches.
This converts forest some interior habitats in the forest into edge habitat. This process has the effects of encouraging the invasion of this sections of the forest by non-native species, increasing mortality, increased accessibility by both humans and predictors, increased soil erosion, and in many cases, reduced habitat effectiveness. In effect, for many habitat types and species, linear disturbances can cause total devastation.
Transmission Corridors In MB
To understand and illustrate the various impacts that linear disturbance causes on the boreal landscape, the Manitoba Wildlands studied some of the potential effects of roads hydro transmission corridors. While they only studied two types of impact, it is important to note that there are plenty of other impact types that can occur.
The information gain from these assessments is important as it lays bare the potential of linear disturbances as a result of development. The studies and assessments are also important for a better understanding of the cumulative effects that new developments have in the boreal region.
Furthermore, the studies demonstrate the variety of information needed and the various analysis that should be carried out for due process as part of an environmental assessment of proposed development projects in and around the boreal region.
Manitoba Forest Policies And Regulation
Federal vs. Provincial
Under the Canadian Constitution, the various natural resources are controlled by the various provinces as they are under the provincial jurisdiction, except in very specific circumstances. Therefore, the Government of Manitoba is authority responsible for the management and the use of the forest on public (crown) lands in the province.
As such, the province makes the regulation and laws and lay out the policies that govern the exploitation, management, and, importantly, the protection of the forests.
The federal government input in forests mainly focuses on the trade and investment, science and technology, industrial and regional development, international relations, climate change, water protection, Aboriginal affairs, environmental regulation, and the federal land management.