Understanding Place and Policy:Assessing the Connectivity of the Beaver Hills Moraine

Authors: Forrest Hisey*,
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Land Use and Land Cover Change, Political Geography
Keywords: Land Management, Environmental Policy, Human - Environmental Interactions
Session Type: Guided Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Roosevelt 3.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The purpose of this research is to assess ground truthing as a potential method for analyzing ecological connectivity in ecosystems in regard to satellite imagery analysis. It also explores public and private land management policies specifically in the Beaver Hills Moraine. The Beaver Hills is a region situated in central Alberta in an area serving as an interface between agriculturally dominated private lands and publicly protected ecosystems(in the form of National Parks and Provincial Reserves). Data was provided by field testing the methodology, LANDSAT imagery of the study area and assistance from the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).
This research found that ground truthing can accurately provide practitioners with a valuable tool to assess landscapes with a process that gives thorough and intimate immersion into the area and provides an up-to-date picture of the ecosystems flow and function. Findings also included that the Beaver Hills had fairly good ecological connectivity due to a variety of historical and current management policies from various levels of public and private entities. These policies protected highly important core habitat areas while permitting a degree of connective flow through the landscape. Recommendations that came from this research include removing or restructuring physical anthropogenic infrastructure that acts as barriers to ecological connectivity such as fences, roads and structures. Incorporating private citizens to promote greater ecological connectivity on privately owned lands through educational and incentive programs was also critical for improving the health and resilience of the Beaver Hills connective landscape.

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