Human activities such as settlement, forestry and agriculture in the forested regions of Canada can severely fragment habitat and leave a human “footprint” that results in an unnatural landscape pattern. Maintaining such natural landscape patterns is important for protecting wildlife habitat, water quality, and ensuring the proper functioning of forest ecosystems. Maintaining a natural forest landscape requires us to consider the spatial and temporal patterns of the landscape in development decisions. In conducting forest management planning for timber harvest operations, landscape design, at a scale of tens of thousands of hectares and larger, must be considered along with site level considerations. Landscape design is needed to create natural spatial patterns and temporal phases across watersheds and entire landscapes.
The Manitoba Conservation Forest Practices Committee is a government/industry consortium, of which the MBMF is a partner, which develops Forest Management Guidelines in Manitoba. In 2007, the MBMF was asked by the Forest Practices Committee to assist in the development of a guideline on landscape design, which would integrate the latest science and best management practices from across Canada into a Manitoba guideline.
In 2008, the MBMF in conjunction with the Sustainable Forest Management Network (SFMN) hosted a workshop on landscape design, bringing together a number of experts from across Canada. The workshop, Forest Landscape Planning and Design: From Science to Implementation, included presentations on the use of landscape design theory in landscape planning as well as focus groups. Copies of the workshop presentations are available for viewing or download and a video recording of all presentations is available from the Model Forest office upon request. In addition, a workshop summary document has also been produced.
Next steps will have the MBMF produce a document explaining the need to develop and implement landscape design guidelines for consideration by Manitoba Conservation. The MBMF would then develop a first draft Landscape Design Guideline for consideration and review by the Forest Practices Committee.