Recent observations and model simulations have highlighted the sensitivity of the forest-tundra ecotone to climatic forcing. In contrast, paleoecological studies have not provided evidence of tree-line fluctuations in response to Holocene climatic changes in Alaska, suggesting that the forest-tundra boundary in certain areas may be relatively stable at multicentennial to millennial time scales. We conducted a multiproxy study of sediment cores from an Alaskan lake near the altitudinal limits of key boreal-forest species. Paleoecological data were compared with independent climatic reconstructions to assess ecosystem responses of the forest tundra boundary to Little Ice Age (LIA) climatic fluctuations. Pollen, diatom, charcoal, macrofossil, and magnetic analyses provide the first continuous record of vegetation fire-climate interactions at decadal to centennial time scales during the past 700 years from southern Alaska. Boreal-forest diebacks characterized by declines of Picea mariana, P. glauca, and tree Betula occurred during the LIA (AD 1500-1800), whereas shrubs (Alnus viridis, Betula glandulosa/nana) and herbaceous taxa (Epilobium, Aconitum) expanded. Marked increases in charcoal abundance and changes in magnetic properties suggest increases in fire importance and soil erosion during the same period. In addition, the conspicuous reduction or disappearance of certain aquatic (e.g., Isoetes, Nuphar, Pediastrum) and wetland (Sphagnum) plants and major shifts in diatom assemblages suggest pronounced lake-level fluctuations and rapid ecosystem reorganization in response to LIA climatic deterioration. Our results imply that temperature shifts of 1-2 degrees C, when accompanied by major changes in moisture balance, can greatly alter high-altitudinal terrestrial, wetland, and aquatic ecosystems, including conversion between boreal-forest tree line and tundra. The climatic and ecosystem variations in our study area appear to be coherent with changes in solar irradiance, suggesting that changes in solar activity contributed to the environmental instability of the past 700 years.
Sustainable food systems are those in which diverse foods are produced in close proximity to a market. A dynamic, adaptive knowledge base that is grounded in local culture and geography and connected to outside knowledge resources is essential for such food systems to thrive. Sustainable food systems are particularly important to remote and Aboriginal communities, where extensive transportation makes food expensive and of poorer nutritional value. The Learning Garden program was developed and run with two First Nation communities in northwestern Ontario. With this program, the team adopted a holistic and experiential model of learning to begin rebuilding a knowledge base that would support a sustainable local food system. The program involved a series of workshops held in each community and facilitated by a community-based coordinator. Topics included cultivated gardening and forest foods. Results of survey data collected from 20 Aboriginal workshop participants are presented, revealing a moderate to low level of baseline knowledge of the traditional food system, and a reliance on the mainstream food system that is supported by food values that place convenience, ease, and price above the localness or cultural connectedness of the food. Preliminary findings from qualitative data are also presented on the process of learning that occurred in the program and some of the insights we have gained that are relevant to future adaptations of this program.
This paper provides an overview of the emerging role of Aboriginal people in Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) in Canada over the past decade. The 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) provided guidance and recommendations for improving Aboriginal peoples' position in Canadian society, beginning with strengthening understanding and building relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal parties. This paper explores the extent to which advances in Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal relationships and Aboriginal forestry have been made as a result of RCAP's call for renewed relationships based on co-existence among nations. Such changes have begun to alter the context in which Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal relationships exist with respect to SFM. While governments themselves have generally not demonstrated the leadership called for by RCAP in taking up these challenges, industry and other partners are demonstrating some improvements. A degree of progress has been achieved in terms of lands and resources, particularly with co-management-type arrangements, but a fundamental re-structuring needed to reflect nation-to-nation relationships has not yet occurred. Other factors related to increasing Aboriginal participation in SFM, such as the recognition of Aboriginal and treaty rights, are also highlighted, along with suggestions for moving Aboriginal peoples' SFM agenda forward in the coming years.
Half of all Swedish forests are owned by private individuals, and at least 215,000 people work in these privately owned forest holdings. However, only lethal accidents are systematically monitored among self-employed forest workers. Therefore, data from the registries of the Swedish Work Environment Authority, the Labor Insurance Organization and the regional University Hospital in Umeå were gathered to allow us to perform a more in-depth assessment of the rate and types of accidents that occurred among private forest owners. We found large differences between the registries in the type and number of accidents that were reported. We encountered difficulties in defining "self-employed forest worker" and also in determining whether the accidents that did occur happened during work or leisure time. Consequently, the estimates for the accident rate that we obtained varied from 32 to > or = 4300 injured persons per year in Sweden, depending on the registry that was consulted, the definition of the sample population that was used, and the accident severity definition that was employed. Nevertheless, the different registries gave a consistent picture of the types of accidents that occur while individuals are participating in self-employed forestry work. Severe accidents were relatively common, as self-employed forestry work fatalities constituted 7% of the total number of fatalities in the work authority registry. Falling trees were associated with many of these fatal accidents as well as with accidents that resulted in severe non-fatal injuries. Thus, unsafe work methods appeared more related to the occurrence of an accident than the equipment that was being used at the time of the accident (e.g., a chainsaw). Improvement of the workers' skills should therefore be considered to be an important prevention measure that should be undertaken in this field. The challenges in improving the safety in these smallest of companies, which fall somewhere between the purview of occupational and consumer safety, are exemplified and discussed.
Working in sawmills is associated with bioaerosol exposure and respiratory health problems. This study is the first to analyze the mycoflora of eastern Canadian sawmills and the nature of airborne contamination at different work sites. Fifty work sites (debarking, sawing, planing, and sorting) within 17 sawmills were sampled for airborne microfungi. One thousand seven hundred strains were isolated, quantified to determine the frequency of occurrence, and then identified. Unlike the European studies, we did not frequently identify the presence of fungi that were described in European sawmills as being related to respiratory health problems. In eastern Canadian sawmills, Penicillium species are the most frequently isolated microfungi.
Here, we use a unique long-term data set on total organic carbon (TOC) fluxes, its climatic drivers and effects of land management from a large boreal watershed in northern Finland. TOC and runoff have been monitored at several sites in the Simojoki watershed (3160 km(2) ) since the early 1960s. Annual TOC fluxes have increased significantly together with increased inter-annual variability. Acid deposition in the area has been low and has not significantly influenced losses of TOC. Forest management, including ditching and clear felling, had a minor influence on TOC fluxes - seasonal and long-term patterns in TOC were controlled primarily by changes in soil frost, seasonal precipitation, drought, and runoff. Deeper soil frost led to lower spring TOC concentrations in the river. Summer TOC concentrations were positively correlated with precipitation and soil moisture not temperature. There is some indication that drought conditions led to elevated TOC concentrations and fluxes in subsequent years (1998-2000). A sensitivity analysis of the INCA-C model results showed the importance of landscape position, land-use type, and soil temperature as controls of modeled TOC concentrations. Model predictions were not sensitive to forest management. Our results are contradictory to some earlier plot-scale and small catchment studies that have shown more profound forest management impacts on TOC fluxes. This shows the importance of scale when assessing the mechanisms controlling TOC fluxes and concentrations. The results highlight the value of long-term multiple data sets to better understand ecosystem response to land management, climate change and extremes in northern ecosystems.
To further the understanding of climate change adaptation processes, more attention needs to be paid to the various contextual factors that shape whether and how climate-related knowledge and information is received and acted upon by actors involved. This study sets out to examine the characteristics of forest owners' in Sweden, the information and knowledge-sharing networks they draw upon for decision-making, and their perceptions of climate risks, their forests' resilience, the need for adaptation, and perceived adaptive capacity. By applying the concept of ego-network analysis, the empirical data was generated by a quantitative survey distributed to 3000 private forest owners' in Sweden in 2014 with a response rate of 31%. The results show that there is a positive correlation, even though it is generally weak, between forest owner climate perceptions and (i) network features, i.e. network size and heterogeneity, and (ii) presence of certain alter groups (i.e. network members or actors). Results indicate that forest owners' social networks currently serve only a minimal function of sharing knowledge of climate change and adaptation. Moreover, considering the fairly infrequent contact between respondents and alter groups, the timing of knowledge sharing is important. In conclusion we suggest those actors that forest owners' most frequently communicate with, especially forestry experts providing advisory services (e.g. forest owner associations, companies, and authorities) have a clear role to communicate both the risks of climate change and opportunities for adaptation. Peers are valuable in connecting information about climate risks and adaptation to the actual forest property.
This paper examines collaborative arrangements between Aboriginal peoples and the forest sector across Canada. Using a broad definition of collaboration, we identified 1378 arrangements in 474 Aboriginal communities in all Canadian provinces and territories, except Nunavut. We categorize these collaborative arrangements into five broad types: treaties and other formal agreements; planning and management activities; influence on decision-making; forest tenures; and economic roles and partnerships. Consistent data was available for only the first three types, which showed that close to 60% of Aboriginal communities use each approach. However, this masks significant differences between provinces. For example, economic roles and partnerships are in place in all New Brunswick communities and 74% of communities in British Columbia, but only 12% of Manitoban communities. The proportion of communities that have been involved in participatory processes in forest decision-making (such as advisory committees and consultation processes) is particularly high in Quebec with 88% of communities, but only 32% of communities hold forest tenures. We also find that three-quarters of all communities choose to engage in two or more approaches, despite the demands that this can place upon the time and energy of community members. We finally consider how policy environments in different jurisdictions affect the frequency of certain types of collaboration. This empirical study, and the typology that it demonstrates, can inform policy development for Aboriginal involvement in Canadian forestry and help guide future research into broader issues of collaborative governance of natural resources.
Ergonomic Technology Center, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut 06030-2017 and Institute for Microstructural Sciences, National Research Council, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R6, Canada. email@example.com
Two tools for assessing tactile sensory disturbances in the hands have been constructed from mechanoreceptor-specific vibrotactile threshold shifts, and thresholds changes with time, and employed in a prospective study of forest workers (N=18). Statistically significant positive threshold shifts (i.e., reductions in sensitivity compared to the hands of healthy persons) were found in five hands at study inception (13.9%), and 15 hands at follow-up (41.7%). Four patterns of threshold shift could be identified, involving selectively the median and/or ulnar nerve pathways and/or end organs. Statistically significant positive threshold changes (i.e., reductions in sensitivity with time) were recorded in 69.4% of the hands over a five-year period, even though a majority of the workers remained symptom free. If the thresholds recorded from subjects not working with power tools are used to control for aging, lifestyle, and environmental factors during the five year period, then 40% of the remaining subjects are found to be experiencing work-related threshold changes in their hands. The ability of the threshold shift metric to predict the numbness reported by these subjects shows that it is closely associated with the tactile sensory changes occurring in their hands.