Browsing by Author "Locky, David"
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- ItemA synthesis of evidence for the effects of interventions to conserve peatland vegetation: overview and critical discussion(2019) Taylor, Nigel G.; Grillas, Patrick; Fennessy, M.S.; Goodyer, Emma; Graham, Laura L. B.; Karofeld, Edgar; Lindsay, Richard A.; Locky, David; Ockendon, Nancy; Rial, Anabel; Ross, Sarah; Smith, Rebecca Kate; Diggelen, Ruud van; Whinam, J.; Sutherland, William J.Peatlands are valuable but threatened ecosystems. Intervention to tackle direct threats is often necessary, but should be informed by scientific evidence to ensure it is effective and efficient. Here we discuss a recent synthesis of evidence for the effects of interventions to conserve peatland vegetation - a fundamental component of healthy, functioning peatland ecosystems. The synthesis is unique in its broad scope (global evidence for a comprehensive list of 125 interventions) and practitioner-focused outputs (short narrative summaries in plain English, integrated into a searchable online database). Systematic literature searches, supplemented by recommendations from an international advisory board, identified 162 publications containing 296 distinct tests of 66 of the interventions. Most of the articles studied open bogs or fens in Europe or North America. Only 36 interventions were supported by sufficient evidence to assess their overall effectiveness. Most of these interventions (85 %) had positive effects, overall, on peatland vegetation - although this figure is likely to have been inflated by publication bias. We discuss how to use the synthesis, critically, to inform conservation decisions. Reflecting on the content of the synthesis we make suggestions for the future of peatland conservation, from monitoring over appropriate timeframes to routinely publishing results to build up the evidence base.
- ItemBoreal peatlands and plant diversity: what’s there and why it matters(2010) Locky, DavidShould plant conservation in western Canadian peatlands be an integral part of forest management activities? This research note introduces the concepts of plant diversity (richness and rarity) in a variety of peatland types from the perspective of forest management.
- ItemCharacterization of microplastics and anthropogenic fibers in surface waters of the North Saskatchewan River, Alberta, Canada(2021) Bujaczek, Taylor; Kolter, Sheldon; Locky, David; Ross, Matthew S.Microplastics are globally ubiquitous contaminants, but quantitative data on their presence in freshwater environments are sparse. This study investigates the occurrence, composition, and spatial trends of microplastic contamination in the North Saskatchewan River flowing through Edmonton, Alberta, the fifth largest city in Canada. Surface water samples were collected from seven sites throughout the city, upstream and downstream of the city, and near potential point sources (i.e., a wastewater treatment plant). Samples were spiked with fluorescent microbeads as internal standards and extracted by wet peroxide oxidation and density floatation. Microplastics were found in all samples, ranging in concentration from 4.6 to 88.3 particles·m−3 (mean = 26.2 ± 18.4 particles·m−3). Fibers were the dominant morphology recovered, and most were of anthropogenic origin and chemically identified as dyed cotton or polyester by Raman microspectroscopy. The majority of fragments were identified as polyethylene or polypropylene. No upstream to downstream differences were found in concentration, size distribution, or morphological composition suggesting nonpoint sources of microplastics to the river. This study represents one of the first investigations into the occurrence of microplastics in the freshwater environment in western Canada and will provide a baseline for future studies.
- ItemEarly stand-level assessment of forest harvesting in western boreal peatlands(2009) Locky, DavidApproximately 20% of Canada’s boreal region is covered by wetlands. Most of these are peatlands, which are defined as wetlands with at least 40 cm of moss and sedge-dominated organic soil. Commonly known as ‘muskeg’, boreal peatlands are comprised of bogs, fens, and conifer swamps. Recent studies in Canada’s western boreal region have shown that the greatest overall species diversity and number of rare bryophytes (mosses, liverworts, and hornworts) and vascular plants occurs in wooded peatlands. This is particularly true for wooded moderate-rich fens and black spruce swamps. Most species of rare vascular plants in peatlands are orchids or sedges. Less is known of rare bryophytes.
- ItemEffects of logging in the southern boreal peatlands of Manitoba, Canada(2007) Locky, David; Bayley, SuzanneTo evaluate changes in surface water chemistry, peat, and the plant community in logged peatlands, we compared plots in 1–4 year old (class I) and 9–12 year old (class II) clearcuts with plots in wooded controls. Indicator species were significantly different between wooded and clear-cut plots but not between clear-cut plot age classes. Surface waters in class I clearcuts had significantly higher temperature and nutrients compared with controls, and this was attributed to warming of the soil, which resulted in faster decomposition and greater nutrient availability. Hummocks, important peatland plant microhabitats, were reduced in height in all clearcuts because of compaction and abrasion. These abiotic changes caused a shift in the plant community. Total plant diversity was approximately 30% higher on clearcuts and consisted primarily of herbs, particularly grasses. However, bryophyte and lichen diversity and cover was greatest in wooded controls. Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP regeneration was not compromised by clear-cutting and was greater in class II clearcuts. Greater diversity and cover of Salix species in class II clearcuts suggests stable shrub community formation, which may be persistent and may slow succession. The use of appropriate equipment to minimize site disturbances while the ground is frozen may reduce long-term shifts in the plant community.
- ItemEffects of wetland creation on breeding season bird use in boreal eastern Ontario(2005) Locky, David; Davies, J. Chris; Warner, Barry G.Wetland construction has been an effective means of mitigating wetland habitat losses due to agricultural and other activities. However, the type, variety, and age of the habitats created are often critical components in the success of the wetland when the aim is to enhance the bird community. Hilliardton Marsh was constructed as a series of cells between 1993 and 1997 in boreal eastern Ontario to provide waterfowl habitat. We determined habitat change and monitored breeding-season bird use before construction and one year after the last cell was constructed. Wetland construction resulted in dramatic changes to the vegetation and bird communities. The area was transformed into a variety of wetland habitats, but primarily marsh, one of the rarest wetland types in boreal Ontario. Survey stations with moderate habitat change exhibited the greatest change in bird species richness. Total species richness increased 55% from 56 to 87 species, with obligate wetland birds increasing from 3 to 26 species. Rare birds increased from 11 to 27 species, with most as obligate or facultative wetland birds, but also Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus). Bird abundance, as measured by the number of stations where a species was observed, increased significantly for obligate wetland birds. There were no significant losses of species from any bird group, as adjacent upland habitat was preserved. This short-term study has shown that construction of new wetland habitat in boreal eastern Ontario, especially marsh, can significantly increase the numbers of breeding-season birds, including rare species. However, longterm monitoring is required to ensure sustained success of wetland construction projects for birds.
- ItemInfluence of pipelines and environmental factors on the endangered plant, Halimolobos virgata (Nutt.) O.E. Schultz over a 10 year period(2020) Naeth, Anne M.; Locky, David; Wilkinson, Sarah R.; Bryks, Candace L.; Low, Caitlin H.; Nannt, Meghan R.We investigated the effects of pipeline construction and environmental factors on the occurrence and characteristics of the endangered plant Halimolobos virgata (Nutt.) O.E. Schultz. The plants were surveyed from 2007 to 2016 at three sites along the Keystone Pipeline in southern Alberta, Canada. Plant height, number of flowers and siliques, as well as microhabitat and climate data were collected up to 300 m away from the pipeline. Pipeline construction and distance had no effect on plant numbers or physical characteristics, with occurrences increasing markedly over time. Greater litter cover and depth and spring precipitation were associated with plant height and number of flowers and siliques. Vegetation cover was negatively correlated with H. virgata cover; however, plant height and number of flowers and seed pods were positively influenced by graminoid cover. The highest occurrences of H. virgata coincided with the driest and wettest years, and higher winter and spring temperatures. Some of this pattern can be attributed to the plant’s annual, biennial, and short perennial life forms, which may overlap and create a temporary exponential growth rate for an annual plant under ideal conditions. This research highlights the importance of understanding a species’ life history for the development of effective conservation and recovery strategies.
- ItemPeatlands and creatures great and small: part I - vertebrates(2003) Locky, DavidThis article is Part I of a two-part series on peatland creatures. In this installment I’ll provide background information on the five wetland classes in Canada and the associated creatures there, and then focus on peatlands and vertebrates, from mammals to fish. Part II will focus on peatlands and invertebrates, including insects and amoebae, then outline wetlands from the perspective of conservation and animals. A table including all of the creatures discussed in both installments will be provided with Part II.
- ItemPeatlands and creatures great and small: part II – invertebrates(2004) Locky, DavidThis article is the last of a two-part series on peatland creatures. Here, I focus on peatlands and invertebrates and some microfauna, and then outline wetlands from the perspective of conservation and creatures of all sizes. A table with peatland creatures, great and small, is included.
- ItemPipeline impacts and recovery of dry mixed-grass prairie soil and plant communities(2020) Naeth, Anne M.; Locky, David; Wilkinson, Sarah R.; Nannt, Meghan R.; Bryks, Candace L.; Low, Caitlin H.Agricultural practices have historically dominated disturbance on North American grasslands. Disturbances from oil and gas have become increasingly common and problematic for grassland conservation. With growing demand for oil and gas, industry is actively implementing minimal disturbance techniques during construction to reduce impacts on grasslands. This study aimed to determine impacts of a large-diameter pipeline right of way (ROW) on dry mixed-grass prairie to determine if and how far these impacts extended beyond the ROW and the effect of time on grassland recovery on and off ROW. Soil and vegetation on the ROW and on transects extending 300 m on either side of the ROW were assessed over a 10-yr period, starting the yr of construction, at six sites along a pipeline route in southern Alberta, Canada. There were significant impacts to soil and vegetation on the ROW and within 5 m of the ROW in the first yr. The trench was most impacted, followed by work and storage areas. Within 2 yr, soil and plant communities were on a trajectory toward reference prairie conditions. Ten yr following construction, only soil pH and bare ground were greater, and litter was less, on the trench than on work and storage areas, and relative to reference prairie. While native grass richness, dominance, and cover were similar on and off ROW, abundance of some native forb species was less on ROW. Non-native species cover was < 2% in all yr and locations. Although ruderal weed species were abundant on ROW the yr following construction, they disappeared by the following yr. Use of minimal-disturbance construction techniques reduced the size and intensity of the disturbance footprint, allowing for even sensitive arid habitat to recover within a short period of time. Similar approaches to other grassland disturbances can increase ecosystem resiliency.
- ItemPlant communities and diversity in boreal wooded fens: an ecoregional perspective(2009) Locky, DavidEcoregions are increasingly being used as a framework for conservation planning. The Mid-Boreal Uplands Ecoregion stretches across western Canada from Manitoba to British Columbia. Within this Ecoregion (Manitoba to Alberta), we compared the plant communities and environmental variables in 80 sites of a single wetland type, wooded moderate-rich fen. Wooded moderate rich fens are a common boreal wetland, but among peatland types, are most likely to have the highest species diversity and number of rare plant species. Regional diversity totalled 273 species and was comprised of 86 bryophytes and 187 vascular plants. Total local diversity was greatest in Manitoba, and decreased in a longitudinal trend through Saskatchewan and Alberta. This may be related, in part, to the influence of orographic precipitation at Manitoba sites and to a decreasing gradient of growing degree days. Of the vascular plants in which provincial rarity information was available, ten species were observed across the Ecoregion. Ordinations and other analyses revealed distinct plant communities for all three locations, although bryophyte assemblages were more similar among locations than those of vascular plants. Bryophyte diversity increased with latitude and longitude, whereas vascular plant diversity decreased. Species composition over this continental scale exhibited a continuous change, even within a single wetland type in one Ecoregion. Conservation plans based on Ecoregion boundaries are preferable to political boundaries, but need to account for changes in abiotic conditions (e.g. precipitation) and biotic aspects (e.g., proximity to boundaries and transition zones).
- ItemPlant diversity in wooded moderate-rich fens across boreal western Canada: an ecoregional perspective(2010) Locky, David; Bayley, SuzanneEcoregions are increasingly being used as a framework for conservation planning. The Mid-Boreal Uplands Ecoregion stretches across Canada from Manitoba to British Columbia. From the perspective of conservation and to understand the dynamics of plant diversity and community composition in a common wetland type, we examined the plant communities and environmental variables in 80 wooded moderate-rich fens within this ecoregion. Regional diversity totalled 273 species, with 86 bryophytes and 187 vascular plants. Total diversity was greatest in Manitoba and decreased in a longitudinal trend west through Saskatchewan and Alberta. This may be related, in part, to orographic precipitation at Manitoba sites and a gradient of growing degree days. Richness of locally rare vascular plants exhibited a clear west to east gradient. Ten species of provincially rare vascular plants were observed across the ecoregion, but without pattern. Ordinations and other analyses revealed distinct plant communities for all three locations, with vascular plant assemblages more discrete than bryophyte assemblages. Bryophyte diversity increased with latitude and longitude, whereas vascular plant diversity decreased. Additionally, elevation, precipitation, surface water alkalinity, water temperature, percent overstory density, and peat organic C played a role in determining species richness and community composition. Overall, species composition and diversity in a single wetland type exhibited continuous change across multiple political jurisdictions at the ecoregion scale. Conservation plans for wetlands at the ecodistrict scale may be preferable.
- ItemPlant diversity, composition, and rarity in the southern boreal peatlands of Manitoba, Canada(2006) Locky, David; Bayley, SuzannePlant diversity and rarity have been relatively well studied for bryophytes in Canadian western boreal peatlands, but little information exists for vascular plants. Diversity, community composition, and rarity of bryophytes and vascular plants were determined and relationships examined among these and environmental variables in five peatland types at Duck Mountain, Manitoba: wooded bogs, black spruce swamps, wooded moderate-rich fens, open moderate-rich fens, and open extreme-rich fens. Total diversity was 298 species comprising 86 bryophytes and 212 vascular plants. Mean diversity followed a unimodal distribution over a bog – rich fen gradient. Wooded moderate-rich fens (59.0) and black spruce swamps (53.4) had the highest mean diversity, whereas wooded bogs (32.3) and open extreme-rich fens (34.7) had the lowest mean diversity. Occurrences of locally rare species followed the same general pattern, and provincially rare vascular plants were found primarily in wooded moderate-rich fens and black spruce swamps and were mostly orchids. Reasons for these patterns are complex, but high diversity appears to be related to high habitat heterogeneity and moderate environmental variables, e.g., pH and alkalinity, and low diversity appears to be related to environmental extremes, e.g., pH and alkalinity. Boreal wooded moderate-rich fens and black spruce swamps have comparatively high plant diversity and rarity and require consideration if the focus is biodiversity conservation. This will become increasingly important in landscapes where development pressures are high.
- ItemPlant functional traits as indicator of the ecological condition of wetlands in the Grassland and Parkland of Alberta, Canada(2019) Roy, Marie-Claude; Azeria, Ermias T.; Locky, David; Gibson, John J.The analysis of functional trait-habitat relationships has been used to measure the degree to which environmental factors influence the assembly of ecological communities. In the Parkland and Grassland natural regions of Alberta, wetlands are embedded in a matrix of human modified landscapes. The extent and effects of land uses on the condition of these wetlands and plant assemblages remains largely unknown. We used the physico-chemical characteristics and plant functional traits collected in 322 wetlands as indicators of wetland condition. Plant functional traits included origin, life history, and habitat requirements. Physico-chemical characteristics at each wetland site were assessed and the intensity of land use quantified within a 250-meter buffer. Our analyses reveal that functional plant traits are impacted by surrounding land use intensity; the abundance of non-native (exotic), upland, and annual plants tend to increase with degree of agriculture. Wetlands in areas with abundant groundwater input (low isotopic oxygen-18 enrichment) tend to be associated with functional groups preferring stable hydrological conditions including perennials and upland species. This contrasts with wetlands with greater potential for evaporation which were shallower, had higher nutrient levels, and were positively associated with species tolerating higher levels of disturbances, such as annuals. Our study demonstrates how an understanding of plant functional trait-habitat relationship can provide a framework for linking the responses of taxonomically-unrelated plant species to the condition of wetlands, and ultimately be used as indicator of wetland condition.
- ItemThe mountain wolves of southwestern Manitoba(2002) Locky, DavidI first became interested in the wolves of southwestern Manitoba while conducting peatland research at Duck Mountain during the last two summers. At first all I saw were wolf tracks and scat along the logging roads, but then I began to find the remains of ungulates, usually moose that had been taken by wolves in the forested peatlands. On lucky days, the silence of hot summer afternoons was broken by the howls of wolf pups and once two adults called very close to the camp. These experiences fueled a long-time fascination with wolves and I embarked on a quest to discover more about the wolves in the region. My search led me over Duck Mountain and south to Riding Mountain National Park and the results have revealed a remarkable story of the mountain wolves of southwestern Manitoba.
- ItemThe vegetational ecology of black spruce swamps, fens, and bogs in southern boreal Manitoba, Canada(2005) Locky, DavidWe undertook a survey of the vegetational ecology of 94 peatlands at Duck Mountain, Manitoba to discriminate differences among peatland types at the southeastern edge of the boreal plain, especially black spruce swamps, and to clarify boreal swamp terminology. The majority of peatlands surveyed were wooded, relatively small (mean = 1.8 ha), and in depressions on the landscape. A classification and indicator species analysis identified the dominant peatland types as moderate-rich fens, with bogs and extreme-rich fens as rare. Black spruce swamps were relatively common and often found on gentle slopes. They were distinguished from wooded fens by larger trees (mean height = 9.7 m; diameter = 12.6 cm), denser overstory (68%), shallower peat depth (90 cm), and small size (1.6 ha). Although most similar to wooded moderate-rich fens by vegetation, black spruce swamps have a denser bryophyte layer and more mesic plant species. Significant indicator species on hummocks and drier areas include Pleurozium schreberi, Hylocomium splendens, Equisetum sylvaticum, Petasites frigidus var. palmatus, Cornus canadensis, Linnaea borealis, Rosa acicularis, Moneses uniflora, Geocaulon lividum, Orthillia secunda, Equisetum arvense, Listera cordata, and Mertensia paniculata. Species characteristically found in black spruce swamp hollows include Rhizomnium pseudopunctatum, Rhizomnium gracile, and Plagiochila porelloides. We discuss conifer swamp terminology globally, and recommend that black spruce swamps be recognized as a peatland type distinct from eastern white cedar-dominated boreal swamps found in the eastern boreal region, wooded fens, and black spruce-dominated uplands.
- ItemTrends in wildlife intake at a rehabilitation centre in Central Alberta: a retrospective analysis of birds, mammals and herptiles, 1990-2012(2016) Doell, Dawn; Locky, DavidUsing patient data from the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton, we assessed reasons for admission, overall success of rehabilitation, and compared temporal trends with human population growth in the region. Over the survey period 13,375 individuals from 271 species were admitted. These included 11,637 birds (87%), 1,727 mammals (13%), and 11 herptiles (<0.1%). Outcome data were not reliably collected from 1990 through 2007 so it is not possible to provide a valid rate of the rehabilitated animal release for thoseyears. However, starting in 2008 outcome data was collected for the majority of animals with the average release rate of 45.7% from 2008 through 2012. There was a strong relationship between Edmonton’s population growth and the annual intake of wildlife (R² = 0.84, F = 104.6, P = 0.001). This study provides an overview of wildlife intake trends from 1990 through 2012 and is the first known published retrospective of wildlife intake in Alberta.
- ItemWestern boreal wetlands & orchids(2010) Locky, DavidWetlands are a dominant component of the western boreal region of Canada. They are comprised primarily of peatlands, wetlands with organic soils. Peatlands vary from acidic bogs to calcareous fens and offer a rich array habitats for plants, including orchids. A wide variety of factors contribute to plant diversity in peatlands, including water table, water chemistry, shade, and other microhabitat factors. Of the rare plants found in peatlands, most are comprised of sedges and some of North America's rarest orchids. While peatlands appear to be a safe harbour for orchids and other rare plants, development pressures mean that these sites are not immune to disturbance. Current policy to protect orchids (and other plant species) is relatively weak. Conservation of specific ecosystems may be a more effective means to protect rare orchids.
- ItemWestern continental wetland plant communities(2003) Locky, David; Thormann, MarkusWetland Series: This is the fourth installment in a series of papers introducing wetlands titled Wetlands – shedding some light into their murky waters. This installment introduces vascular and non-vascular plant communities of the dominant wetland classes in western continental Canada.
- ItemWetlands, land use, and policy: Alberta's keystone ecosystem at a crossroads(2011) Locky, DavidWorldwide, governments, the private sector, and non-government organizations face the challenge of balancing wetland conservation with promotion of wise use of resources and appropriate associated economic development. Similar challenges exist in Alberta. Over the span of a few decades the province has evolved from no wetland policy to a leader on no-netloss policy and practice. However, as a revised policy is poised to be announced, Alberta may now become a province with potentially diminished wetland protection if replacement of lost wetlands is not considered. As growth continues in the province, Albertans are becoming increasingly concerned about environmental issues, as are those elsewhere in the world. At this juncture, Alberta has the unique opportunity to continue the leadership charge on wetland policy and practice, and can set the precedent for effective and balanced wetland conservation and management in Canada, and elsewhere.