Integrated Landscape Services
Alberta-Pacific, through our Integrated Landscape Services team, is dedicated to reducing the ecological impact of cumulative industrial activities through the implementation of Integrated Landscape Management strategies. This collaborative effort between our company and resource companies has resulted in the construction of fewer roads, initiated research on the effects of industrial activities on forest ecosystems, assisted in the development of science-based best practices and has helped coordinate harvest operations with oil and gas activities.
What is Integrated Landscape Management?
Northeastern Alberta is rich with natural beauty, abundant resources, vibrant communities and people. As a result there are competing demands for the landscape – from recreational trails, to roads, seismic lines and pipelines, to oil and gas activity and forestry, all of them contribute to changing the landscape. Integrated Landscape Management is the coordination of activities from initial land-use to the eventual return of the area to a reclaimed state.
It’s no secret that this part of Alberta is one of the world’s busiest when it comes to resource activity. The process of oil and gas development in Al-Pac's FMA area generally follows the sequence - exploration, project planning, project development, ongoing operations, decommissioning and reclamation. Al-Pac can implement ILM initiatives with resource companies at any stage of this sequence and past partnerships show that using Integrated Landscape Management techniques have many benefits.
There are many success stories. By working together, companies are helping reduce loss of productive forestland while saving operational costs and minimizing cumulative effects on the boreal ecosystems.
Reducing the Size of Linear Corridors
The amount of "linear disturbance" - roads, pipelines, utility corridors and seismic lines was identified by Al-Pac as a key effect on the forest that could be reduced by co-operation among industries.
Seismic lines created to explore for oil and gas are the most numerous linear feature on northern Alberta's boreal forest. There are over 70,000 km of seismic lines on Al-Pac's FMA area alone. Conventional and 'low impact' seismic lines generally range in width from 3.5 - 8 metres. Site disturbance and re-use of these lines by industry and the public often means that seismic lines persist on the landscape, resulting in both direct and indirect effects on wildlife and forests. Concerns about the lasting effects of these linear features led Al-Pac to work with the energy sector to pursue exploration techniques that reduce the amount and duration of this exploration activity.
In 2001, Al-Pac introduced an incentive program for exploration companies to keep seismic line widths less than 2.5 metres. The Canadian Association of Geophysical Contractors (CAGC) worked with Al-Pac to assist energy industry members in implementing new line cutting techniques, saving thousands of hectares of forest annually. This initiative has become an industry standard throughout the northeast region of the province.
Coordinating Operational Activities
Alberta-Pacific and its oil and gas partners are also reducing the impact on environment by coordinating forest harvest operations with oil and gas exploration and development.
For example, Al-Pac has worked with numerous energy companies to develop and plan access, harvest operations and reclamation in some areas ahead of project development. Similar plans have been generated for Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage projects to maximize operational benefits to the developers while minimizing impacts to wildlife and forest resources.
What our ILS Team Offers
Alberta-Pacific’s Integrated Landscape Services Team has been working with energy sector companies since 1999 when our company established an Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) program through the Alberta Chamber of Resources. Since that time many successful projects have been completed with our energy partners benefitting both industries while reducing the footprint and minimizing impacts to the landscape and biodiversity.