Table of Contents
This is an evaluation of Natural Resources Canada's (NRCan) Canadian Forest Service (CFS) Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity. The overall objective of the sub-activity is to support science and technology research to help mitigate natural and human-caused forest disturbances and provide options for adaptation. At the time when the field work for this evaluation was conducted (2009-10), the sub-activity was composed of six programs organized in three sub-sub activities: forest pests, wildland fire, and climate change. A risk-based approach to the evaluation was taken. As a result, four of the six programsFootnote1comprising 84% of the total $186.9 million used by the sub-activity during the period 2005-06 to 2009-10 were evaluated.Footnote2
More specifically, the evaluation covered the following four programs:
- Forest Invasive Alien Species (FIAS) which is intended to provide CFS personnel and research in support of the forestry component of Canada’s Invasive Alien Species Strategy. From 2006-07 to 2009-10, expenditures totaled $18.2 million primarily for CFS operations to conduct research and coordinate with partners.
- National Forest Pest Strategy (NFPS) which is intended to develop a unified, cooperative approach to addressing native and alien forest pests across Canada. From 2006-07 to 2009-10, expenditures were $8.4 million for CFS operations and contributions to partners to support research efforts.
- Federal Response to Mountain Pine Beetle (FR–MPB) which is intended to mitigate impacts and develop options for adaptation to the MPB infestation in British Columbia (B.C.). From 2006-07 to 2009-10, FR–MPB expenditures were $100 million. This included CFS operations related to research, but consisted mostly of contributions to recipients such as the Province of B.C., First Nations, and municipalities to control the spread, recover economic value, and protect communities.
- Wildland Fire – Science and Technology (Wildland Fire–S&T) which is intended to perform empirical fire research to support decision makers and fulfill international obligations. From 2006-07 to 2009-10, expenditures were $5.2 million for CFS operations to conduct research, and develop and maintain fire management information systems and technologies.
This executive summary focuses mainly on the sub-activity level analysis, drawing on specific program examples only where they help to illustrate key findings. More details on the performance of individual programs is provided in the body of the report.
The evaluation examined the sub-activity’s relevance and performance (effectiveness, efficiency and economy) using a multiple lines of evidence methodology. This included document reviews, 108 interviews with key internal and external stakeholders, and four case studies (FR–MPB only).
There are several limitations to this methodology that should be considered when interpreting the findings. First, the analysis focuses on the sub-activity level which limits the level of detail available for analysis at the individual program level. Second, except for FR–MPB the evaluation relied on two sources of evidence – document reviews and in-depth interviews. Third, assessing the direct impact of CFS research is a challenge as the Canadian forest science community is small and well integrated with stakeholders which may have introduced a bias. This bias may have been further compounded by the fact that CFS selected the interviewees.
Key Evaluation Findings
Overall, there is a clear rationale for the programs in the Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity, in terms of alignment with federal government priorities, the federal role and the need for programming in this area.
- Federal government priorities: In budgets 2005 and 2006, funds were committed to Forest Disturbances programs. Moreover, speeches from the Throne in 2007, 2008, and 2009 reiterated the federal government’s commitment to supporting the forest industry.
- Federal role: Although most aspects of forest management generally fall under provincial jurisdiction, NRCan is mandated under the Forestry Act and the Emergency Preparedness Act to help manage and protect forests from threats including fire and insect infestations. Also, through the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM), there is a long tradition of cooperation between the federal and provincial/territorial governments in forestry matters. CFS is also the knowledge provider to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) which has the federal regulatory mandate for invasive alien insect species.
- Need: Evaluation interviews and the document review confirmed that climate change, fire and pests are interrelated disturbances and will continue to threaten Canadian forests in the future. For example, warmer temperatures from climate change are resulting in increased survival rates of forest pests, producing greater numbers of standing dead trees, which in combination with droughts, raises the risk of forest fires.
Performance – Effectiveness
Based on the four programs evaluated, the Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity is on track to effectively manage and respond to forest disturbances in Canada. The evaluation found evidence that each of the four programs have generally achieved, or are on track to achieve, their outputs and progress has been made towards many of their intended outcomes.
The evaluation identified significant progress at the sub-activity level in four key areas:
- Supporting risk assessment and monitoring: Overall, the Forest Disturbances programs have increased risk assessment capacity. CFS has collaborated with provincial and federal partners on risk assessment efforts, leading to the development of several risk frameworks and predictive tools for both pests and forest fires. For example, under FR–MPB, risk models were developed and are being used to predict and respond to the spread of the beetle, while FIAS S&T activities have increased the capacity to assess risks of introduction of alien species.
- Collaborating with provinces, other federal departments, and internal groups: Stakeholder engagement has been one of the strength of the sub-activity. CFS has provided research, representation, and an organizing function on domestic and international committees related to strategy and regulatory standards development. There is also widespread agreement that CFS scientific research is highly valuable to federal departments such as the CFIA, the provinces, First Nations and industry. Moreover, scientific research has seen collaboration within and between sub-activity programs (e.g., coordination between FR–MPB, NFPS research, and Wildland Fire research on prescribed burns).
- Identifying threats: The evaluation found evidence of progress on applied risk analysis leading to threat identification. With the exception of FR–MPB programming, which specifically included CFS-lead threat characterization efforts, CFS does not undertake risk analysis on its own. It has, however, contributed to the ongoing National Risk Framework on pests under NFPS, which is widely considered the most important achievement of NFPS. Under FIAS, noteworthy achievements include the identification and mapping of brown spruce long-horn beetle (BSLB).
- Protecting Canada’s forest industry and forestry exports: The FR–MPB has been particularly successful in developing adaptive options for MPB-affected communities, industry and ecological zones. Under FR–MPB, this has been most evident in efforts to recover economic value from beetle-killed wood. Stakeholders also agree that direct control measures implemented as part of this funding contributed to slowing the eastward progress of the beetle.Footnote3 Federal stakeholders also believe that adaptive measures to protect Canadian forests have been achieved due to the efforts of FIAS research to detect new invasive pests, and NFPS contributions to phytosanitary research to protect Canadian export market interests.
The above progress notwithstanding, the evaluation identified a number of potential challenges to the continued effectiveness of the sub-activity. The potential barriers to progress are described below.
- Attrition of highly-qualified scientific staff: Stakeholders expressed concern that the scientific community retained by CFS with expertise in pests and fire is shrinking due to attrition. This was particularly evident in Wildland Fire–S&T. Similarly, a smaller number of stakeholders believed that the ability to increase monitoring of forest pests was limited due to a shrinking number of highly-qualified personnel. While data on the number of CFS scientists is available at the sector level, it cannot be disaggregated enough to examine pest and fire expertise specifically.
- The need for more research to fill pest and fire management gaps and to update risk assessment and monitoring tools in the context of the changing climate: Concerns have been raised about the currency of some CFS-developed decision making tools and the pace at which research is conducted to feed decisions. For example, under Wildland Fire–S&T, stakeholders have identified growing research gaps (e.g., due to climate change) that need to be filled in order for the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System (CFFDRS) and FireSmart tools to remain useful to decision makers. NFPS stakeholders identified research gaps, in part due to delays in approving contribution agreements, as well as perceived lack of research in new risk areas. Similarly, FIAS stakeholders expressed concern over funding limitations for researching new risk areas. As well, differences found between the views of interviewees at CFS and the provinces suggest that CFS may be conducting some research to update its tools which is not being effectively communicated to the provinces.
- The capacity of provinces to expand monitoring work: CFS S&T activities and funding under the Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity have contributed to an increased capability among provinces to monitor forest disturbances, primarily in terms of native and invasive alien pests. However, monitoring capability has existed for some time, and stakeholders generally see a need to update or expand the existing monitoring tools for domestic and invasive alien pests. It is important to note, however, that while there is a perceived need to increase provincial monitoring capacity, this is not part of CFS’ mandate, and is the responsibility of the provinces.
- Full implementation of national level strategies (i.e., NFPS and CWFS): CFS has contributed scientific research to, and has served in an organizing function for the NFPS and the CWFS. However, at the time of this evaluation, these strategies had only been partially implemented. There are persistent concerns among stakeholders that to be fully realized, considerable work and commitment among federal and provincial partners is necessary. While stakeholders see the need to fully implement these strategies, it is important to note that CFS’ role is as a partner with the provinces and CFS is not responsible for implementing the strategies (nor can it do so unilaterally).
Performance – Efficiency and Economy
Feedback from interviewees indicates that the programs were being run efficiently, and the majority of interviewees stated that the programs could not be more economical in achieving their objectives. Moreover, interviewees did not report that the programs were duplicating efforts, or that their efforts could be performed better and more cost-effectively elsewhere.
The perceived efficiency and economy of the sub-activity programming stemmed mainly from the collaborative approaches employed and the high regard for CFS researchers among their peers. For example, NFPS and FIAS engaged people across the country at minimal cost, and NFPS contribution agreements allowed CFS to draw on provincial resources. Wildland Fire–S&T interviewees were clear that no organization other than CFS would have undertaken its fire-related research and tool development.
Nevertheless, some potential for improvement was identified. Under FR–MPB, some stakeholders suggested improvements concerning governance and jurisdictional issues with provinces, and the resulting ability to set priorities and make funding decisions. Moreover, FIAS and Wildland Fire–S&T stakeholders suggested enhancing the coordination of research to ensure information is useful to stakeholders and end users.
|Recommendations||Action Plan||Responsible Official/Sector
|1. To ensure that it continues to have a world-class scientific staff sufficient to address research and policy needs related to forest disturbances, CFS should address the attrition of its highly qualified scientific staff.||
As addressing the attrition of highly qualified scientific staff is an NRCan-wide issue, CFS will be tapping into departmental HR initiatives to renew scientific personnel. Specifically, CFS will seek opportunities to link to the work on the Integrated Business Plan, the work of the S&T Board, and the existing Human Resources Renewal Committee.
CFS will also address scientific staff renewal through the development of a revised Strategic Plan for Forest Disturbances that will address human resources needs.
|2. CFS should undertake risk assessments to identify potential disturbances that are emerging threats in order to facilitate earlier responses.||
CFS is completing in-depth risk assessments for major forest pests that include Emerald Ash Borer, Sudden Oak Death, Spruce Budworm and Mountain Pine Beetle. These will be finalized by the end of 2011. To further support these efforts, a framework will be developed to identify other emerging threats for which additional risk assessments will be undertaken.
|3. CFS should ensure that its disturbance research takes into account new variables, such as climate change and other important factors and also includes mitigation options as appropriate.||
Existing research within CFS comprises work on climate change, including the interactions between events such as pest infestations and forest fires.
A revised strategic plan for Forest Disturbances will be developed and will ensure that new variables in forest disturbances, such as climate change, will be taken into account in Forest Disturbances research and where possible mitigation options will be developed.
|4. CFS should take steps to ensure dissemination and knowledge exchange with its various stakeholders related to ongoing research.||
As part of the revised strategic plan for Forest Disturbances, CFS will incorporate knowledge exchange activities that will build upon existing national and regional forums as examples of best practices.
|5. In the context of possible future forest disturbances that may cross provincial/territorial boundaries, and noting the FR – MPB experience, CFS should examine how best to coordinate multi-jurisdictional efforts when targeted funds are provided by multiple jurisdictions.||
CFS uses mechanisms for the coordination of ongoing multi-jurisdictional efforts to address forest disturbances both on a National and Regional basis. For example, under the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM) Working Groups (pest, fire and climate change) CFS plays a significant role in the development and delivery of initiatives and coordinates efforts that involve multiple jurisdictions. CFS also works closely with the partners of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) and is heavily involved and engaged with existing regional committees that address disturbances.
In the event of new program funding, CFS will develop governance measures to ensure inter-jurisdictional coordination and cooperation with a view to maximizing program effectiveness which will include, based on the lessons of the FR-MPB program, an enhanced decision-making system that outlines various roles and responsibilities when addressing future wide-scale, inter-jurisdictional forest disturbances.
To be implemented when new programs are introduced.
|6. A performance measurement system should be developed to track detailed financial information, activities and achievement of outcomes for each component program of the Forest Disturbances sub-activity.||
CFS implemented an updated planning and financial tracking system, starting in 2008-09. As a result, improved information on finances, activities and outcomes are available for subsequent years. CFS will use this system and ensure that the new NRCan financial systems allow for tracking of resources for sub-sub-activities.
A logic model for Forest Disturbances was developed during the evaluation period. It will be reviewed while the strategic plan for Forest Disturbances is updated.
CFS has identified performance measures for the Forest Disturbances sub-activity as part of NRCan’s performance management framework. This is being tested as a pilot initiative during 2011.
This report summarizes the findings of the evaluation of the Forest Disturbances sub-activity (3.1.2) of Natural Resources Canada's (NRCan) 2009-10 Program Activity Architecture (PAA). The evaluation covers approximately 84% of the total $186.9 million spent by NRCan's Canadian Forest Service (CFS) for the sub-activity during the period 2005-06 to 2009-10. Two of the six Forest Disturbances components – Integrated Pest Management and Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation – were not covered in this evaluation.Footnote4 For the period 2006-07 to 2009-10, nearly half of the total Forest Disturbances’ expenditures ($71.5 million) was used for CFS salaries and operating costs, with $87.4 million used for contributions ($82.1 million for the Federal Response to the Mountain Pine Beetle, mainly for direct control measures).
The objective of the Forest Disturbances sub-activity is to support S&T research to help mitigate natural and human-caused forest disturbances and to provide options for adaptation. The sub-activity falls under Program Activity 3.1: Adapting to a Changing Climate and Hazard Risk Management of NRCan's Strategic Outcome 3: Safety, Security and Stewardship.
The Forest Disturbances sub-activity is divided into three sub-sub-activities:
- Forest Pests, consisting of:
- Forest Invasive Alien Species (FIAS);
- National Forest Pest Strategy (NFPS);
- Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (not covered by this evaluation); and
- Federal Response to the Mountain Pine Beetle (FR–MPB).
- Wildland Fire–Science and Technology (WF–S&T); and
- Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation (CCIA) Program (not covered by this evaluation).
Exhibit 1 presents the Forest Disturbances sub-activity within the context of NRCan's 2009-10 PAA.
Strategic Outcome 3: Safety, Security and Stewardship
Expected Result: Natural resource knowledge, landmass knowledge and management systems strengthen the safety and security of Canadians and the stewardship of Canada’s natural resources and lands
Program Activity 3.1: Adapting to a Changing Climate and Hazard Risk Management
Expected Result: Canada adapts to a changing climate and has the knowledge and tools to manage risks associated with natural hazards and hazards arising from human activities
Forest Disturbances (PAA 3.1.2)
Expected results: Natural and human-caused forest disturbances are mitigated and options for adaptation are provided
Exhibit 2 provides an overview of the programs.
- Forest Invasive Alien Species
- National Forest Pest Strategy
- Federal Response to the Mountain Pine Beetle
- Integrated Pest Management
Wildland Fire – Science and Technology
Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation (CCIA) Program
|Sub-sub-activity||Forest Pests||Forest Fires||Climate Change|
|Forest Invasive Alien Species
|National Forest Pest Strategy (NFPS)||Federal Response to the Mountain Pine Beetle (FR–MPB)||Integrated Pest Management (IPM)||Wildland Fire - S&T (Wildland–S&T)||Climate Change Impact and Adaptation (CCIA)|
|Overall Objectives||To provide research in support of the forestry component of Canada’s IAS.||To develop a unified, cooperative approach to addressing native and alien forest pests across Canada.||To mitigate impacts and develop options for adaptation to the MPB infestation.||To produce knowledge on high -priority pest species to inform risk analysis.||To perform empirical fire research to support decision makers and fulfill international obligations.||To provide foundational knowledge and tools to understand and enable the assessment of the risks, vulnerabilities, and opportunities that climate change poses to Canada’s forests and the forest sector.|
|Primary CFS Activities||Conduct research, develop diagnostic tools, and coordinate with IAS partners. Science and policy expertise in support of federal goals and priorities.||Establish national secretariat and contributions to provinces and academics in support of NFPS research projects.||Contributions to provinces, First Nations, and municipalities to control the spread of the MPB, recover economic value, and protect forest communities.||Research and development of tools in analysis and modelling of forest insects and diseases: monitoring, trend analysis and development of decision support systems; control options and silviculture and preventative options.||Research in fire ecology and behaviour in support of developing and maintaining fire management information systems and technologies.||Research to determine the vulnerability of Canadian forests to climate change and to develop adaptation strategies and options.|
|Scope||National||National||B.C. and Alberta||National||National||National|
|Lead||Environment Canada||CFS and CCFM||CFS||CFS||CFS and CCFM||CFS|
|Years||2005-06 to 2009-10||2005-06 to 2009-10||2006-07 to 2009-10||Ongoing||Ongoing||1999-2000 to 2009-10|
|Total Program Expenditures 2006-07 to 2009-10 ($M)||18.2||8.5||100.0||18.4||5.2||8.6|
|Total Sub-sub Activity Expenditures 2006-07 to 2009-10 ($M)||145.1||5.2||8.6|
|Total Sub-activity 2005-06 to 2009-10* ($M)||186.9|
*Note: The program level and sub-sub-activity level financial information only includes 2006-07 to 2009-10, as these were the only years for which detailed financial information was available at these levels. For 2005-06, only the aggregate sub-activity level figure ($28.0 million) was available.
Since the creation of CFS in the 1890's, it has undertaken research on both native and invasive forest pests and cooperated closely with provinces and territories as well as other members of Canada's forest sector to address the risks of insect infestations in Canada’s forests. Over the years, other risks such as forest fires and, more recently, climate change were identified as significant threats to Canada’s forests including their contribution to the quality of life of Canadians. For example, research to increase understanding of fire risks and behavior has been an integral part of CFS’ science program since the 1920’s, and in 1999-2000, climate change impacts and adaptation was identified as a key research focus for the future.
It is important to note that CFS forest pest research activities have followed a long-term approach, making the separation of research activities by program difficult. CFS researchers in Integrated Pest Management work horizontally across initiatives based on the most pressing needs at a given time, and are not hired specifically for any single program. There have, however, been times where specific challenges and issues required dedicated resources and attention. Challenges related to alien invasive species and to mountain pine beetle have resulted in specific measures. In 2005, for FIAS and in 2006 for the NFPS and the FR–MPB, time-limited funding was received that allowed CFS to expand its pest efforts.Footnote5
1.2 Forest Invasive Alien Species (FIAS)
The following section is an overview of FIAS. FIAS expenditures of $18.2 million from 2006-07 to 2009-10 represented 11.5% of Forest Disturbances expenditures. These expenditures are mostly CFS operations and maintenance (O&M) and a very small contributions component.
1.2.1 Context for FIAS
Alien species are species of plants, animals, and micro-organisms introduced by human action outside of their natural past or present distribution.Footnote6 Invasive Alien Species are those harmful alien species whose introduction or spread threatens the environment, economy, or society, including human health. Invasive alien plants and plant pests are frequently introduced unintentionally when imported goods are transported to Canada because they are carried in plants, plant products or packaging and shipping materials. Once imported by these pathways, alien species may escape and find suitable hosts or habitats in Canada where they establish new populations that, if not limited by natural processes or human interventions, may result in harm to the environment, economy or society.
Increased international trade has elevated the risk of introduction of FIAS such as the emerald ash borer (EAB) and brown spruce longhorn beetle (BSLB) into Canada’s forests. Two recent examples of invasive alien insect infestations are the EAB in Ontario and Quebec and BSLB in Nova Scotia which entered Canada through international trade routes. The threat of new introductions of alien forest pests which have no natural predators in Canada is ongoing. The damage caused by alien invasive species is significant and the limitations of eradication and quarantine efforts can allow these species to spread into new and highly-vulnerable areas. The impact of alien species is especially acute in the urban/rural interface, where trees carry high value for their attractiveness, ecological benefits, and soil conservation properties.
One example of an invasive alien species is the EAB that was introduced into south-western Ontario in 2002, and has the potential to destroy most of Canada’s ash trees. By 2009, it was found as far north as Sault Ste. Marie and as far east as Montreal, Québec.Footnote7 The continued spread of EAB would result in significant damage to Canada’s hardwood industry, with annual production of $1.4 billion.Footnote8 The City of Toronto estimates removal and replacement of EAB affected ash trees on city property alone would be millions of dollars. Property and homeowners have to pay for removal of ash trees on private property, and the cost would range from hundreds to over a thousand dollars for a single tree.Footnote9 In the United States, EAB has resulted in the death of over 10 million ash trees in Michigan alone.
There are considerable economic and related social costs to invasive alien species in Canada. It has been estimated that harmful invasive pests affecting agriculture and forest trees cost the Canadian economy $7.5 billion each year.Footnote10 Costs include loss of wood supply, reductions in the rate of growth, changes to wood quality, loss of income, costs of adaptation, control or recovery, monitoring costs and trade impacts. Social impacts particularly affect rural and Aboriginal communities that rely on forest resources for traditional use as well as economic activity.
1.2.2 Origins of FIAS
In September 2001, federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for wildlife, forests, fisheries and aquaculture called for the development of a national plan to address the threat of invasive alien species in Canada. The resulting document, entitled An Invasive Alien Species Strategy for Canada, was approved by the ministers in September 2004.
The purpose of this strategy was to minimize the risk of invasive alien species to the environment, economy, and society through a hierarchical approach that prioritizes prevention, early detection, rapid response and management. Similar to other countries, the focus of Canada’s IAS policy and management framework is on priority pathways of introduction.
Federal-provincial-territorial working groups were established to develop associated implementation strategies for aquatic invasive species, invasive alien plants and plant pests, and terrestrial animals. These implementation strategies were approved by this same group of ministers in October 2005.
In 2005, Treasury Board approved funding for the Invasive Alien Species Strategy for Canada with a focus on preventing harmful introductions of IAS by addressing priority pathways of unintentional and intentional introductions.
Federal Budget 2005 allocated $85 million in new resources for IAS. A portion of resources was earmarked for cooperative prevention and management programs with the provinces and territories, and communities. Targeted investments of new funding were to be made to support science-based regulatory initiatives (including risk assessment and import controls), strengthen national surveillance for early detection, and raise public awareness and understanding of harmful practices that introduce IAS into Canada.
The overall objectives of the Invasive Alien Species Strategy for Canada are to:
- prevent harmful intentional and unintentional introductions;
- detect and identify new invaders pre-border and upon entry;
- respond rapidly to new invaders upon detection; and
- manage established and spreading invaders.
Four departments/agencies were allocated funding in Federal Budget 2005 in support of these objectives over five years (2006-07 to 2010-11):
- NRCan (CFS) ($10 million);
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) ($20 million);
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (CFIA – Plant Health Division) ($50 million); and
- Environment Canada ($5 million).
1.2.3 FIAS Activities and Outputs
CFS’ FIAS activities are of a scientific, technical and advisory nature. The FIAS Program directs and coordinates the S&T and related policy support for alien forest pests. The project highlights and coordinates work on key invasive alien pests where a critical response is required, but also supports surveillance and mitigation of a variety of emerging invasive alien threats with knowledge, tools, and strategies. The Program also contributes important scientific contributions to policy in other government departments (OGDs), both domestic and international and phytosanitary research used to protect Canadian wood exports, and it supports the engagement of key government and industry stakeholders
CFS FIAS activities fall into four component groups: prevention, monitoring and surveillance, management and control and communication.
CFS supports the prevention of FIAS in Canada by:
- conducting research to improve understanding of the pathways of exotic species movement into and within Canada, and assess human-assisted spread and introduction of new invasive pests; and
- assessing the risks to forest ecosystems and trade in forest products for an array of potential FIAS so that they can be prioritized for improved decision-making.
2) Monitoring and Surveillance
CFS conducts research and develops tools and techniques that assist its partners with monitoring and surveillance of FIAS, including:
- developing accurate and rapid invasive alien species identification methods; and
- undertaking monitoring and detection research as well as designing detection methods and assisting provinces in implementing them.
3) Management and Control
CFS conducts research and produces techniques that assist partners (i.e. provinces and private land owners) in managing and controlling FIAS by:
- conducting research on biological traits, dispersal mechanisms, and impacts of invasive species;
- developing management tools and methods to mitigate impacts of new FIAS at risk of establishing or that have recently been established in Canada; and
- developing new models and data products that inform decision making and predict the impacts of emerging invasive alien species under current and changing climates.
4) Communication and Outreach
CFS engages stakeholders on FIAS issues through the following types of activities:
- outreach and education to disseminate scientific information and information on response and mitigation strategies;
- contributions to legislation, regulations and policy, such as supporting Canadian positions on international phytosanitary discussions and advising OGDs, provinces and territories, First Nations and municipalities on market access, domestic movement and forest health/sustainability; and
- international cooperation, including sharing and disseminating scientific data and information on risks and mitigation strategies and participating in meetings of international phytosanitary organizations.
These activities were intended to produce the following outputs:
- predictive risk assessment models and maps to assess distribution and impact of invasive species;
- monitoring and control strategies that contribute to containment and to slow the spread of alien pests;
- develop new and more efficient diagnostic tools to facilitate rapid identification of invasive species;
- conduct research on biological traits, dispersal mechanisms, and impacts of invasive species for several high priority IAS such as BSLB;
- creation and distribution of publications, development of an IAS database, and contributions to the invasive alien species phytosanitary working group to increase awareness of IAS among stakeholders;
- policy and regulatory advice to federal (i.e. working closely with the CFIA) and provincial government departments;
- support for decision-making at the international, federal, and provincial levels through a presence in working groups and committees related to trade issues and pest containment options; and
- mitigation of the economic impacts of invasive alien species by reducing trade restrictions on Canadian wood as a result of invasive alien species management and detection tools.
During the life of the FIAS Program, CFS had signed contribution agreements with non-profit organizations and universities in 2005-06, 2006-07, and 2007-08. Exhibit 3 presents a breakdown of FIAS contributions for these years:
|Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI)*||70||40||80||190|
Source: Canadian Forest Service
* CABI is a non-profit organization that provides scientific expertise and information on agriculture and the environment.
1.3 National Forest Pest Strategy (NFPS)
The following section is an overview of NFPS. NFPS expenditures of $8.4 million from 2006-07 to 2009-10 represented 5.3% of Forest Disturbances expenditures. These expenditures include CFS O&M with a moderate contributions component.
1.3.1 Context of NFPS
Responsibility for forest pest management is shared among governments. Monitoring and detection of alien pests fall under federal jurisdiction until they are deemed to be established in the country, at which point they become primarily the responsibility of their host provinces and municipal governments. Native pests are mostly a provincial responsibility, as is management of pest concerns on provincial Crown Land. The federal government conducts scientific research and coordinates national pest surveillance, assessment, response and communication, and is responsible for forest health on federal lands and for international trade relationships including those in forest products. Municipalities work with provincial, territorial and/or federal governments in response to forest pest infestations that pose significant economic, social or environmental risks.
Historically, Canada’s forest pest management has generally been reactive, typically implemented locally to focus on immediate priorities, and constrained by limited resources. Federal and provincial agencies tended to address pest management issues within their own borders or departmental priorities, and collaboration has usually been transitory and informal. Responsibilities for management and response were widely distributed, which suggests a level of ambiguity over roles and responsibilities. Formal risk analysis was undertaken sporadically on an urgent basis. Social and economic impacts were generally not well understood, and the principal objective of responses to threats often focused on conserving timber supply.
1.3.2 Origins of NFPS
In October 2005, the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM) acknowledged the common interest for a proactive, unified approach to address both native and alien forest pests across the country, and this led to the concept of a NFPS, which NRCan first raised at the National Pest Forum in December 2005.
In October 2006, CCFM endorsed the framework for the development of a NFPS to cover the management of both native and alien forest species,Footnote11 and tasked an intergovernmental steering committee (made up of federal and provincial representatives) to draft the strategy and a five-year implementation plan.
In October 2006, the Government of Canada announced $12.5 million over three years for the development of a NFPS under its Forest Industry Long-Term Competitiveness Strategy (FILTCS). The broad objective of this funding is to better protect Canada’s forests from an increasing threat of native and alien forest pests. The Strategy seeks to achieve this objective by facilitating a unified, cooperative approach among federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions having responsibilities for managing forest pests in Canada.
1.3.3 NFPS Activities and Outputs
The primary objective of the NFPS is to maintain healthy forests and support a viable forest sector through a national, coordinated forest pest management approach that integrates resources and knowledge at federal and provincial levels to address alien and domestic forest pests. The NFPS seeks to move forest pest management from a pest-specific, reactive process to a coordinated, risk-based, ecosystem-wide, national approach.
Implementation of the NFPS was intended to better allow governments, research institutes, industry and other concerned groups to:
- coordinate their response to native and alien forest pests;
- generate and share knowledge, decision-making tools and response options;
- coordinate and target investments in pest-related S&T; and
- analyze and report on national pest conditions with a view to mitigating their impacts.
CFS was responsible for conducting S&T activities in support of the Strategy, to provide science-based policy advice and scientific expertise to jurisdictions and partners and the coordination of NFPS activities through the National Secretariat. The vast majority of NRCan activities related to the NFPS were delivered through non-repayable contribution agreements. As the agency responsible for the NFPS Secretariat, CFS managed non-repayable contribution agreements for scientific research (totaling $4 million over the life of the program) that allowed stakeholders to contribute to NFPS priorities.
CFS supported the development of the following outputs through NFPS funding:
- established the National Secretariat;
- developed innovative predictive tools, monitoring and surveillance methods; and
- developed strategies and tools to address priority forest pests.
As host of the NFPS Secretariat, CFS was responsible for the administration and delivery of the NFPS, and managed the contribution agreements, including reviewing and recommending research projects based on NFPS priorities. A total of 15 jurisdictions and organizations received funding through this program and included provinces, territories, universities, and a First Nations community.
The NFPS contribution program funded activities that supported the goals of the Strategy, which related to six component areas:
- Risk framework implementation: e.g. risk analysis case studies on priority species; review and evaluate current risk assessment capacity; and data collection and information gathering for assessing risk;
- Monitoring and diagnostics: e.g. implementing monitoring and diagnostics training programs; improving monitoring and survey programs; and developing frameworks and techniques for monitoring pests in specific habitats;
- Information and information management: e.g. developing databases for pest management information and expertise; developing new reporting methods; and consolidating and archiving historic pest data;
- S&T priority setting: e.g. performing an S&T priorities survey;
- Reporting, communication and outreach: e.g. enabling participation in NFPS meetings and workshops, and developing educational material and training programs related to pest management and forest health; and
- Governance: e.g. examining potential operational structures for the NFPS.
The outputs of the NFPS contribution program include the following:
- creation of a risk analysis framework for pest management, adaptable to local conditions;
- identification of key research gaps and pest management capacity through a needs assessment;
- development of science knowledge of forest pests through such methods as risk assessments and research in pest control techniques;
- development of tools and techniques that improve monitoring and detection capacity to assess forest disturbances;
- increased public awareness of the economic and ecological importance of forest pest control in Canada through education and outreach; and
- strengthened inter-jurisdictional engagement and collaboration through working groups, joint initiatives and increased participation at meetings and workshops.
During the life of the NFPS Program, CFS had signed contribution agreements with provinces/territories, universities, and First Nations in 2007-08, 2008-09, and 2009-10. Exhibit 4 presents a breakdown of NFPS contributions for these years.
|All Provinces and Territories||0||700||2620||3320|
|Guelph and Laval Universities||90||180||140||410|
|Champagne & Aishihik (First Nations)||70||100||0||170|
Source: Canadian Forest Service.
1.4 Federal Response to the Mountain Pine Beetle (FR–MPB)
The following section is an overview of FR–MPB, covering expenditures of $100 million from 2006-07 to 2009-10 which represented 62.9% of Forest Disturbances expenditures. These expenditures were mostly contributions and a smaller CFS O&M component for foundational investments in science in order to understand the MPB challenge and possible mitigation strategies.
1.4.1 Context of FR–MPB
The MPB infestation attacking western Canada’s pine forests is now the largest recorded insect infestation in North American history. The current infestation threatens not just the 10.2 million hectares of lodgepole, ponderosa and white pine forests in B.C.’s interior, but also the pine forests of Alberta. There is the potential for the MPB to spread across the boreal forest to impact most of western and central Canada.Footnote12
The MPB is a natural part of the forest ecosystems and is often beneficial at endemic levels. However, the hot, dry summers, mild winters and an abundant food source of mature lodgepole pine stands have combined to produce the conditions for the current B.C. MPB epidemic, which started in the mid-1990’s and continues to expand. These conditions have also contributed to the epidemic’s rapid spread eastward into the national parks system in the Rocky Mountains and into Alberta. As of 2009, the leading edge of the infestation ran all the way from Alberta’s border with the U.S. to the Upper Athabasca Management Zone around Slave Lake, and into the adjacent Lower Peace region.Footnote13
This ecosystem-altering epidemic is causing widespread mortality in forests of lodgepole pine (B.C.’s most abundant commercial tree species), putting the forest industry at risk and threatening the stability and long-term economic well-being of more than 130 communities including over 100 First Nations communities.
In B.C., by 2005, over 411 million m3 of timber were infested across an area in excess of 8.7 million hectares. This area had increased more than ten-fold between 2001 and 2005. Ranging from areas containing low levels of infestation in scattered or spot attacks, up to areas that had been overrun by the infestation, the epidemic had spread over an area of B.C.’s interior 1,200 km long and 575 km wide. By 2009, the MPB had killed an estimated 675 million m3 of pine in B.C., representing half of the provinces commercial pine,Footnote14 infecting to varying degrees 16.3 million hectares of provincial lands.Footnote15
The magnitude of the epidemic is unprecedented, and the implications on current and future timber supplies are enormous. The B.C. Ministry of Forests and Range estimated, in 2010, that the MPB would kill 65% of B.C.'s mature pine forests by 2016.Footnote16 It is now estimated that approximately 45 million m3 of mature merchantable pine on the Timber Harvesting Land Base were killed during the summer of 2009.Footnote17 The 2010 report on The State of British Columbia’s Forests indicates that the average contribution to provincial GDP from each cubic metre of timber harvested is $126.Footnote18 Therefore, the 2009 total of MPB-killed pine had impacted approximately six billion dollars of B.C.’s annual GDP.Footnote19
1.4.2 Origins of FR–MPB
Given the magnitude and rate of spread of the MPB epidemic, the Government of British Columbia requested federal assistance. Federal officials worked closely with B.C. to develop a response to the MPB challenge, while respecting jurisdictional roles and responsibilities.
In October 2002, the Government of Canada initiated the Mountain Pine Beetle Initiative (MPBI), designed as a six-year $40 million program with objectives to reduce the impacts of the infestation and to reduce the risk of future epidemics. This project was terminated in September 2006 as part of a federal budget reduction. Total expenditures were $26.7 million and covered a focused research component and a suite of land-based activities. The work was primarily research in nature but did cover some aspects of value recovery and controlling the spread, as described below. The MPBI Program was evaluated in 2007 and was found to be relevant and to have achieved its objectives to a large extent, notwithstanding the wide-spread damage from the mountain pine beetle at that time. The R&D program, in particular, was found to be highly-successful and well-managed.Footnote20
In February 2005, the provincial government of British Columbia asked the Government of Canada for financial assistance to help in provincial activities to manage MPB issues. In response, the federal government provided $100 million to assist the province in meeting its costs to combat the spread of the MPB and mitigate post-beetle damage focusing on priority areas of interest identified by the federal government and based on the objectives outlined in the provincial Mountain Pine Beetle Action Plan. The $100 million was transferred to the Province of B.C. directly from Finance Canada in March 2005. Although the province has extensive documentation on the Program and the investment is integrated into the B.C. MPB strategy, the transfer was an unconditional grant to the province and is not included in this evaluation.
In September 2005, the Province of B.C. published an implementation planFootnote21 that described a three-year program to expend the $100 million federal contribution. The plan included $25.5 million for bark beetle suppression in four forest districts along the B.C.-Alberta border. These districts are the Northern Rockies, Peace River, Fraser-Fort George, and Columbia Shuswap.
In May 2006, the Government of Canada announced additional funding of $200 million to address the MPB infestation in B.C. as part of a 2006 budget commitment of $400 million to assist the forest industry. Of the $200 million federal contribution to address the MPB infestation, half of the funds came to NRCan and the other half to Western Economic Diversification and Transport Canada. For the NRCan part (FR—MPB in British Columbia) covered in this evaluation, the three objectives and associated budgets were:
- Controlling the Beetle Spread – slow the eastward spread of the MPB infestation ($72 million);
- Recovering Economic Value – assess impacts and develop options for recovering, to the extent feasible, economic value from beetle-killed timber ($11 million); and
- Protecting Forest Resources and Communities – mitigate MPB impacts on community safety and forest resource sustainability ($17 million).
To deliver on these objectives (which are described in greater detail in section 1.4.3), CFS built on its existing in-house research capacity and existing working relationships with primary collaborators. Most of the program activities were delivered through contribution agreements with key stakeholders. Exhibit 5 presents a breakdown of contribution agreements by year and stakeholder group:
|Recipient Type||Number of Recipients||2006-07||2007-08||2008-09||2009-10||Total|
|First Nations||approximately 100||0||1,810||4,530||4,880||11,220|
|Private Landowners||approximately 120||0||1,470||1,590||30||3,090|
|OGD (Transfer to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada)||1||0||0||50||0||50|
Source: Canadian Forest Service.
1.4.3 Federal Response to the Mountain Pine Beetle (FR–MPB) Activities and Outputs
In place since 2006-07, FR–MPB sought to mitigate natural and human-caused forest disturbances and to provide options for adaptation. FR–MPB was a four-year program that encompassed three broad components delivered via CFS in Victoria.
Controlling the Spread Program – This component aimed to moderate the threat of the eastward spread of the MPB infestation by:
- focusing on reducing forestland susceptibility;
- monitoring the outbreak; and
- improving early detection and direct control through the removal of beetle-infested trees.
The elements included provincial Crown forest lands, private forest lands, federal forest lands and threat mapping. Contribution agreements were the major delivery mechanism and included about 75 recipients per year.
Recovering Economic Value – The aims of this component were to:
- assess impacts and develop options for recovering, where reasonable, the use of beetle-kill timber;
- reduce impacts on long-term timber supply; and
- complete natural resource surveys within the beetle zone.
The elements of recovering economic value included mineral and energy resource surveys, exploration of alternative fibre uses for post-beetle timber and ecological impacts. NRCan’s Earth Sciences Sector delivered the survey element, in conjunction with B.C.’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, and Geoscience B.C. The second and third elements were delivered through requests for proposals; Forintek and Paprican (now FPInnovations) and university researchers were the main recipients.
Protecting Forests and Communities – The objective of this component was to mitigate, where reasonable, post-beetle impacts on community health and safety and on forest resource sustainability via two elements:
Element 1 – Community Safety:
- community wildfire protection – using client applications from municipalities; about 40 contributions per year;
- First Nations wildfire protection – applications from First Nations bands and councils; about 40 projects per year;
- hazard tree removal from recreation sites – annual proposals from the province; and
- hazard tree removal from municipal lands – client applications from communities and municipalities.
Element 2 – Forest Resources:
- forest resource assessment – through research calls for proposals; and
- sustaining forest and community futures – through research calls for proposals.
Exhibit 6 below presents the FR–MPB estimated expenditures for each of the above mentioned components from 2006-07 to 2009-10.
|FR–MPB Components||2006-07 Actual||2007-08 Actual||2008-09 Estimated||2009-10 Projected||Total|
|Controlling the Spread||20,829||28,434||15,952||6,697||71,912|
|Recovering Economic Value||1,517||3,355||6,003||238||11,113|
|Protecting Forest Resources & Communities||3,454||3,891||6,554||3,076||16,975|
Source: Canadian Forest Service
1.5 Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
The following section is an overview of IPM. IPM expenditures of $18.4 million from 2006-07 to 2009-10 represented 11.6 % of Forest Disturbances expenditures. These expenditures were almost entirely CFS O&M. (Note that IPM was not formally evaluated in this report.)
1.5.1 Context of IPM
CFS does not typically engage in on-the-ground forest pest management (the FR–MPB was an exception) as this is the responsibility of the provinces, territories, municipalities, the CFIA in cases involving IAS, and other land managers such as First Nations. CFS nevertheless works closely with those who do engage in management, and is the primary federal agency in Canada providing tools and information in support of these activities. A key CFS function in support of forest pest management activities is the creation and dissemination of research knowledge, including the development of tools related to forest pests. IPM is CFS’ foundational research mechanism for forest pests (both domestic and alien). IPM manages ongoing research that precedes and informs the other component programs covered by this evaluation (i.e., NFPS, FIAS, and FR–MPB). Its main output is scientific forestry research knowledge in areas related to pests.
In 2008, CFS scientific publications were studied through a bibliometric analysis. No separate analysis exists for forest pests, although general findings are available for CFS publications covering 10 research areas.Footnote22 When the evaluation assessment was being conducted, a risk-based approach was taken in terms of the need and appropriateness of commissioning new research. The general indications from the bibliometric analysis indicated that CFS has been relatively successful in terms of producing pest-related forestry research, although no specific information was available on IPM research. According to the bibliometric analysis, the top fields in which CFS has published research are Entomology, and Silviculture & Regeneration (704 and 687 papers respectfully, compared to 503 or less in other fields). Forest pests research tends to be published in these areas. Moreover, CFS was found to be highly specialized in Entomology.
1.5.2 NRCan – CFS Role
IPM develops tools to assist decision makers and practitioners in addressing forest pest management issues in Canada. In addition to its core purpose of providing forest pest knowledge to stakeholders, IPM provides the research and tools that support other programs in the Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity such as NFPS, FIAS, and FR–MPB. In fact, CFS scientific outputs for these programs came from pest researchers employed under the IPM program (i.e., no additional research staff was hired for NFPS, FIAS, or FR–MPB). IPM research is fundamentally linked to these other CFS forest pest projects and project delivery, and it is therefore difficult to separate IPM from other pest disturbance programs.
The primary objective of IPM is to produce knowledge on high-priority pest species to inform the three major components of risk analysis:
- risk assessment (biology, ecology, impacts, surveillance technology, predictive modeling);
- risk response (decision-support systems & products/methods to prevent & mitigate loss); and
- risk communication (science-based information products).
IPM consists of research activities conducted across the country focused in CFS’ five research centers, as well as policy expertise from CFS headquarters in Ottawa. CFS research is linked to other Canadian and international institutions where partnering is an important means of sharing information and maximizing the use of resources. Covering both native and alien forest pests which have become established in Canada, the three primary areas of focus of IPM are:
- contributing science and expertise to the NFPS;
- developing and disseminating knowledge and tools for forest pests; and
- developing and disseminating knowledge and tools for significant diseases.
1.5.3 IPM Activities and Outputs
IPM activities consist mainly of managing research and developing the tools that are used in other programs within the Forest Pest sub-activity. A review of planning data captured in ProMisFootnote23 lists six main activity areas. These are:
- Biological and ecological knowledge supporting IPM – e.g., analyzing & modeling the spread of forest insects & diseases; biosystematics research on beneficial and pest insects; and research on ecological relationships of insect pathogens.
- Tools and methods for monitoring, identifying, and evaluating status and trends in pest populations – e.g., assessment and synthesis of trends in pest outbreaks in British Columbia; determining hazard, risk and impacts of defoliators in B.C.; and development of sampling and survey methods and procedures.
- Ecological and socio-economic impacts of pest disturbances – e.g., investigating the impacts of eastern black-headed budworm defoliation on balsam fir; and research on impacts of Mountain Pine Beetle.
- IPM decision support systems – e.g., development of forest insect decision-support systems; and the spray advisor decision support system.
- Control options for IPM – e.g., developing aerial applications technology; coordination of the enhanced pest management program; commercialization of baculovirus products; and research on impacts of forest pesticides on microbial communities.
- Silviculture/preventative options for IPM – e.g., research on reduction of pest risk by use of host tree resistance; silviculture research to mitigate spruce budworm damage to white spruce; investigating effects of site preparation on armillaria ostoyae.
1.6 Wildland Fire–S&T
The following section is an overview of Wildland Fire–S&T. Funding of $8.6 million for this program from 2005-06 to 2009-10 represented 5.4 % of Forest Disturbances funding.
1.6.1 Context of CFS Wildland Fire–S&T
Between 1980 and 2006, an annual average of 8,600 wildland fires have occurred in Canada, burning an average of approximately 2.5 million hectares of forest and wooded land annually.Footnote24 In comparison, the area harvested each year is about one million hectares. The area burned varies significantly from year to year (e.g., 0.3 million in 1978 compared to 7.5 million hectares in 1989) and from region to region (e.g., the 2008 fire season was worse than normal in eastern Canada, well below average in central Canada, and about average in the west).Footnote25 According to CFS, Canada's fire suppression costs range from $500 million to $1 billion annually.Footnote26 Also, wildland fires are a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. In extreme fire years, like 1995, direct emissions from wildfires in the managed forest have represented up to 45% of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions.Footnote27
In addition to the costs associated with fire fighting, forest fires present threats to the economy, public health and safety, and private property and infrastructure.Footnote28 Significant costs are also incurred as a result of disruptions to economic activity resulting from road and rail closures, as well as evacuating communities threatened by fire, especially communities on the wildland/urban interface. Canada is witnessing an increase in the probability of both the frequency and severity of fire events as a result of climate change, pest infestations and disease. Research suggests that most of the communities threatened by wildland fires are located in regions whose burn areas are projected to increase 50 to 200% as a result of climate change.Footnote29
The question of responsibility for wildland fire suppression in Canada depends on jurisdictions. Given that the majority of forested and wildland areas fall under provincial/territorial jurisdiction, provinces and territories generally have responsibility for fire detection and suppression. The federal government has responsibility for addressing wildfire threats on crown land (i.e., national parks, First Nations and National Defence lands). Large private land owners, particularly forestry companies, are responsible for fire management on their own lands. Finally, fires that spread into wildland/urban interface (WUI) areas enter the jurisdiction of municipal governments.Footnote30
1.6.2 Origins of CFS Wildland Fire–S&T
CFS has been conducting research in the area of fire since the 1920’s. Over the years, the focus of CFS fire research has evolved from fire suppression techniques and better chemical retardants to the science of fire ecology and behaviour. In addition to performing empirical fire research, CFS develops and maintains fire management information systems and technologies to support decision makers and to fulfill international commitments.
Wildland Fire–S&T supports a number of current efforts for addressing wildland fire issues, including:
- The Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System (CFFDRS) launched in 1968, and the Canadian Wildland Fire Information System (CWFIS) – to be fully implemented in 2012 to monitor and predict fire danger conditions across Canada.
- The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, established in 1982, to facilitate the exchange of all resources (i.e., information, human, equipment and aircraft resources) during fires, which was evaluated in 2007.Footnote31
- Facilitating the ongoing development of the Canadian Wildland Fire Strategy (CWFS), announced in 2005 as a federal/provincial cost-shared arrangement to address emerging challenges such as climate, demographic, economic and industry change.Footnote32 The CWFS is guided by an assistant deputy minister-level task group (co-led by NRCan and British Columbia) and is meant to enhance wildland fire management through coordinated actions across jurisdictions, focusing on awareness building, community preparedness, response to fire and innovation. While the strategy has been agreed on, at the time of the evaluation, it had only been minimally implemented and a cost-sharing agreement had yet to be reached.Footnote33
1.6.3 CFS Wildland Fire–S&T Activities and Outputs
The primary role of CFS in Wildland Fire–S&T is to perform empirical fire research, and to develop and maintain fire management information systems and technologies to support decision makers and to fulfill international commitments.
The basis of the Wildland Fire–S&T Program is the integration of new fire science and research findings into the CFFDRS and the CWFIS. These critical information technology systems have evolved from simple moisture measurement and weather correlations to computer algorithms for fire forecasting and predictive simulations. During fire season, the CFFDRS is the primary source of near real-time fire information used by fire management agencies. Agencies use the information to better allocate suppression resources and, in some instances, to issue evacuation notices.
The fire research carried out by CFS also compliments research in the areas of sustainable forest practices, forest carbon emissions/sequestration dynamics, forest ecosystem processes and public safety and emergency preparedness.
The Community Fire Strategy component of CFS Wildland Fire–S&T is aimed at using fire research to adapt FireSmart technologies and to develop community outreach campaigns in fire adaptability. FireSmart is a manual that provides individuals with the necessary tools in planning and in mitigating the risk of fire in interface areas. It uses CFS fire research and is delivered by the Partners in Protection – an Alberta-based not-for-profit coalition of professionals representing national, provincial, and municipal associations and government agencies responsible for emergency services, land-use planning, and forest/park management and research.Footnote34
In this context, CFS provides fire management agencies with fire information system technologies for:
- fire behaviour training;
- prevention planning (e.g., informing the public of impending fire danger, regulating access and risk associated with public and industrial forest use);
- preparedness planning (level of readiness and prepositioning of fire suppression resources);
- detection planning (e.g., staffing lookouts and routing aircraft);
- allocation of fire suppression resources;
- suppression tactics and strategies for active wildfires;
- situation analysis for escaped fires;
- planning and execution of prescribed fires; and
- community risk assessment.
1.7 Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation (CCIA)
The following section is an overview of CCIA. CCIA expenditures of $22.7 million from 2005-06 to 2009-10 represented 11.7% of Forest Disturbances expenditures. These expenditures were entirely CFS O&M. (Note that CCIA was not evaluated in this report.)
1.7.1 Context of CFS Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation
An evaluation including the Science Component of the CFS Climate Change Program (CFS–CC) was conducted in 2008 covering the period of 1999-2000 to 2006-07.Footnote35 The evaluation concluded that there was a legitimate, appropriate and necessary role for the federal government in supporting the CFS–CC Program. The program activities were on track to achieving expected outcomes, and the evaluation found that the CFS-CC Program had been through a very productive period.
The 2008 evaluation recommended that CFS enhance its climate change planning by: articulating the key objectives, resources, and strategic partnerships required; outlining the future development and use of key intellectual property such as the Carbon Budget Model; and identifying the key forest monitoring data and infrastructure required to implement the plan. The evaluation also recommended that CFS focus on issues regarding the management of its climate change science including clarifying the role of climate change science in advancing CFS priorities, coordinating research across the regional centres, and addressing staffing and peer review issues.
At the time of the 2008 evaluation, the Science Component of the Program focused on research in three areas:
- Carbon-Cycle Science which consists of examining the role of the forests in cycling carbon, including the forest’s relationship with the atmosphere and the soil, the effects of forest fire, sequestration and release of carbon by forests, and the overall relationship of the forest to climate (this work is currently being undertaken to support the other components of the Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity);
- The Forest Carbon Budget Model-Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS) that builds on carbon cycle science research to provide a decision support tool for management application in national climate change policy decisions, especially those related to international reporting obligations due to the Kyoto Protocol, including an annual accounting of Canadian forests’ contribution to GHG emissions and sinks; and
- Impacts and Adaptation Research to determine the vulnerability of Canadian forests to climate change by conducting scientific research on the impact of climate change on Canadian forests and to develop adaptation strategies and options.
Following the 2008 evaluation, the CCIA Program evolved significantly, including greater integration and cooperation with other sectors in NRCan through the Horizontal Task Team on Climate Change Adaptation. The activities related to the carbon cycle science and Carbon Budget Model were transferred to the Forest Ecosystems sub-activity, with the balance of the Program remaining within the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation sub-sub-activity. A section of this work eventually became part of the Forest Disturbances sub-activity.
1.7.2 NRCan – CFS Role in the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation
Through interdisciplinary research, development, and analyses, the current CCIA sub-sub-activity provides knowledge and tools to understand and enable the assessment of the risks, vulnerabilities, and opportunities that climate change poses to Canada’s forests and the forest sector. It also identifies potential adaptation policies and practices that members of the forest sector could implement to enhance sustainable forest management under a changing climate.
1.7.3 CFS Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Activities and Outputs
At the time of this evaluation, the CCIA sub-sub activity had three activities, which are described below:
- developing a nationally applicable framework and decision support tools that enable the integrated assessment of the risks, vulnerabilities, and opportunities that climate change poses to Canada’s forests and the forest sector;
- providing new knowledge needed to estimate the cumulative and interacting effects of climate change, forest pests, and fire on the productivity of the ecological goods and services provided by Canada’s forests; and
- identifying and evaluating how new forest management practices (e.g., in reforestation, stand tending, harvesting), policy instruments, and institutional arrangements could help the forest sector adapt to climate change.
1.8 Overall Resources at the Sub-Activity Level
Exhibit 7 presents the overall expenditures of each program in the sub-activity from 2006-07 to 2009-10 (the years for which detailed financial information was available). The FR–MPB accounted for over 60% of the total sub-activity spending of $158.9 million for those years, while Wildland Fire–S&T used the least amount of the sub-activity’s resources at just over 3%.
Exhibit 8 presents the expenditures of each sub-sub-activity by type of expenditure (i.e., operating and G&C) and by year for 2006-07 to 2009-10, which totals $158.9 million. While the evaluation also covers 2005-06, CFS’ financial tracking system did not allow for detailed operational financial information broken down by program for that year. However, the aggregate sub-activity figure for 2005-06 is $28.0 million.Footnote36 The total sub-activity figure for the full evaluation period is therefore $186.9 million.
*Includes salary, EBP, O&M, and capital.
Source: data provided by CFS.
CFS' financial tracking systems. The figures for 2008-09 and 2009-10 were derived using CFS' financial tracking system implemented in 2008-09. This system allows for detailed breakdowns of expenditures by Forest Disturbances program for 2008-09 and 2009-10, while figures for previous years were extrapolated based on the distribution of CFS projects in 2008-09 and 2009-10. Extrapolated figures are italicized. Data for 2005-06 was only available from Strategic Review figures ($28.0 million) and only at the sub-activity level. Discussions with program managers revealed that disaggregating this figure across the programs would be impossible to do accurately, so it has not been included in the table.
2.0 Evaluation Approach and Methodology
2.1 Evaluation Scope and Objectives
The evaluation examined the Forest Disturbances sub-activity's relevance and performance (effectiveness, efficiency, and economy). Taking a risk-based approach, the evaluation focused primarily on four of the six components of the sub-activity:
- Forest Invasive Alien Species (FIAS);
- National Forest Pest Strategy (NFPS);
- Federal Response to the Mountain Pine Beetle (FR–MPB); and
- Wildland Fire–Science and Technology (Wildland Fire–S&T).
Over half of the evaluation’s resources were concentrated on the FR–MPB. The Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program was not covered in this study. The Program's predecessor, the Science Component of CFS’ Climate Change Program, was evaluated in 2008 and findings are thus relatively current.
Similarly, the evaluation did not cover Integrated Pest Management (IPM) directly. Given the inherent linkages between IPM activities and outputs and those of the other programs covered in this evaluation, it was thought that the impact of many of IPM's research and modelling outputs would be examined by extension as part of the assessment of the FIAS, NFPS and FR–MPB programs (i.e., findings in terms of research and modelling under these programs are also applicable to IPM work). In addition, the impacts of CFS’ scientific publications have already been studied through the bibliometric analysis incorporated in the 2008 evaluation of CFS’ Climate Change Program. Although no separate analysis exists for forest pests, general findings for all CFS publications of relevance to IPM are positive.
As data collection for the evaluation was completed, it became clear that IPM could not be adequately covered through secondary means. It was found that IPM is much larger in size and scope than was originally thought when the terms of reference were developed for this evaluation.
2.2 Evaluation Methods
The evaluation included a document review, 108 interviews with key internal and external stakeholders, and four case studies pertaining to the FR–MPB.
An overview of the methodologies employed in the evaluation is presented in Exhibit 9.
|Programs||Documents Reviewed||Interviews||Case Studies|
The 108 interviews were distributed as follows:
|Stakeholders||FIAS||NFPS||FR-MPB||Wildland Fire – S&T||Total|
|Provincial & Territorial Governments||17||12||14||43|
An evaluation advisory committee, made up of representatives from CFS and Strategic Evaluation, provided general direction to the evaluation, helped validate the data and analysis, and provided feedback on data collection instruments, findings reports and draft evaluation reports.
2.3 Evaluation Limitations
Although the study was designed with commonly used methodologies in evaluation, there are some minor methodological limitations that need to be considered when interpreting the findings.
The Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity covers a broad range of activities and objectives within its component programs. Although the analysis of results was conducted at many levels, the focus was on presenting findings at the sub-activity level. As a consequence, individual program-level findings are more limited.
With the exception of FR–MPB, the evaluation relied primarily on two sources of evidence: document reviews and in-depth interviews.
Assessing the direct impact of CFS research is a challenge. The Canadian forest science community is small and it is difficult to separate knowledge producers from knowledge users to obtain an unbiased view. Given that interview respondents were in part recommended by CFS program management and staff, a selection bias may have been introduced into the study. Conversely, evaluation budget limitations restricted the range of stakeholders. The challenge is that research conducted by CFS informs federal and provincial government regulators, who transfer new practices and policies to forestry practitioners and other end-users. This multiple party impact chain (e.g. research ? regulators ? practitioners ? end-users) makes it difficult for the end-users of the research to attribute results to CFS activities.
3.0 Evaluation Findings
This section describes the findings with respect to the continued relevance of the sub-activity, and addresses the following issues:
- linkage to government priorities;
- appropriateness of the federal role; and
- ongoing need for the programming.
Overall, there is a clear rationale for the sub-sub-activities in the Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity.
Based on federal government commitments outlined in federal budgets and speeches from the Throne in recent years, the objectives of programs under the Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity are closely aligned to government priorities.
The evaluation confirmed that the need for Forest Disturbances programming continues. Climate change, fire and pests have considerable environmental and economic consequences, and these forest disturbances will continue in the future.
There is also a clear role for federal government involvement in forest pest and fire management. Although management of forests generally falls under provincial jurisdiction, NRCan is mandated under the Forestry Act and the Emergency Preparedness Act to help manage and protect forests from, among other threats, fire and infestations.
3.1.1 Do the sub-sub-activities reflect the federal government’s priorities?
Issues contained in this sub-activity have been mentioned on a number of occasions in recent years in federal budgets, speeches from the Throne and legislation.
In Budget 2005, the Government announced more than $3 billion in new investments to address climate change and to protect our natural environment. These investments included measures to address climate change and enforce framework legislation such as the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the Species at Risk Act. This included funding to expand CFS science and technology on Forest Invasive Alien Species for pest management.
In 2005, Canada adopted a national Invasive Alien Species Strategy, which was endorsed by federal, provincial, and territorial ministers. This interdepartmental strategy is led by Environment Canada and CFS leads the forestry portion. As well, the NFPS was endorsed by the federal, provincial and territorial ministers through the CCFM.
Budget 2006 allocated $200 million to NRCan, Western Economic Diversification and Transport Canada to combat the mountain pine beetle and for post-beetle impacts in collaboration with the province of British Columbia. It also provided $12.5 million in support of the NFPS.
The three successive speeches from the Throne between 2007 and 2009 reiterated the federal government's commitment to supporting the forestry industry, including measures to assist communities, to promote innovation and to open foreign markets.
3.1.2 Do the sub-sub-activities reflect a definite federal role?
The federal government has jurisdiction over trade and international issues respecting forests and has particular expertise in areas of forest competitiveness and sustainability. Under the Department of Natural Resources Act (1994), the NRCan Minister is mandated to:
- assist in the development and promotion of Canadian scientific and technological capabilities;
- participate in the development and application of codes and standards for technical surveys and natural resources products and for the management and use of natural resources; and
- seek to enhance the responsible development and use of Canada’s natural resources and the competitiveness of Canada’s natural resources products.
Under the Forestry Act, the NRCan Minister “may enter into agreements with the government of any province or with any person for forest protection and management or forest utilization, for the conduct of research related thereto or for forestry publicity or education.”
The Emergency Preparedness Act establishes the requirement for NRCan to have civil emergency plans for contingencies that are within or related to its area of accountability. In 1995, the government established a policy for emergency preparedness and named NRCan as the lead in “federal advice and assistance in combating and containing fires, blights, disease, infestations or other threats to Canada’s forest resources.” However, the Federal Emergency Response Plan of December 2009 mentions a wildland/urban interface fires contingency plan without assigning departmental responsibility.
There has been a long standing tradition of cooperation between the federal and provincial/territorial governments in forestry matters through the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM). CCFM provides an important forum for the federal, provincial and territorial governments responsible for forests to work cooperatively to address major areas of common interest. The pan-Canadian priorities related to forest sector transformation and climate change adaption and mitigation are the two key priorities within CCFM’s Vision for Canada’s Forests: 2008 and Beyond.”Footnote38 The Council provides leadership on national and international issues and sets direction for the stewardship and sustainable management of Canada's forests.
3.1.3 Is there a continued need for these sub-sub-activities?
With regard to climate change, Environment Canada believes that “Climate change is one of the most important environmental issues of our time, requiring urgent action on the part of all governments and citizens. ….The potential impacts of climate change are far-reaching, affecting our economy, infrastructure, and health, the landscapes around us, and the wildlife that inhabit them.”Footnote39Several NRCan programs, including those in the Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity, contribute to research, analysis, reporting and negotiation on climate change and adaptation. Climate change is expected to have a profound impact on the carbon balance of Canada’s forests.
Warmer winters have already contributed to the major infestation of the mountain pine beetle in British Columbia and its recent spread over the Rocky Mountains into Alberta.Footnote40 Forest pests (insects and diseases) continue to cause significant damage to resources and property, with average annual losses of more than 100 million cubic metres of timber, an amount more than one-half of the annual harvest, representing billions of dollars. According to the National Forest Database, in 2008, the area defoliated by insects or containing MPB-killed trees in Canada’s forests was 13.7 million hectares or roughly eight times the area lost to forest fires.
Climate change also has significant implications for forest fires in Canada. CFS scientists predict that the forest area annually burned in Canada is likely to double by the end of the century, resulting in large emissions of carbon. Climate change is also expected to result in more frequent and longer lasting droughts which will increase the risk of forest fires occurring.
3.2 Performance (Effectiveness, Efficiency, and Economy)
The evaluation covers four programs under the Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity: the National Forest Pest Strategy (NFPS), Federal Response to Mountain Pine Beetle (FR–MPB), the Forest Invasive Alien Species (FIAS), and Wildland Fire–S&T. This section presents the findings related to performance.
A composite outcomes model for the NFPS, FR–MPB, FIAS, and Wildland–S&T components of the Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity was developed to guide the analysis at the sub-activity level.Footnote41 The findings are presented at the overall sub-activity level as well as for each individual program, based on the immediate, intermediate and ultimate outcomes of the composite outcomes model. Exhibit 7 below identifies how the individual programs contribute to each sub-activity outcome in the composite outcomes model.
|Immediate||Improved capacity to assess forest disturbances risk|
|Improved forest disturbances monitoring capability|
|Contributions to strategies, regulatory, and standards development|
|Adaptation and mitigation options are developed|
|Awareness of forest pest issues|
|Improved information supports decision-making|
|Intermediate||Applied risk analysis effectively identifies threats|
|Applied forest disturbance management techniques reduce economic and ecological impacts|
|Relevant stakeholders are engaged and CFS is collaborating with them|
|Ultimate||Effective management and responses to forest disturbances in Canada|
3.2.1 To what extent have intended outcomes and performance targets been achieved as a result of the programs?
Overall, the Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity appears to be on track to meeting its immediate and intermediate outcomes, but a number of challenges need to be addressed to fully support stakeholders in managing and responding to forest disturbances in Canada.
The potential barriers to progress include: the attrition of highly-qualified scientific staff; the capacity of provinces to expand monitoring work; the as yet to be fully implemented national level strategies (i.e., NFPS and CWFS); and the need for more research to (i) fill pest and fire management gaps, and (ii) update risk assessment and monitoring tools in the context of the changing climate. It should be noted that implementation of national strategies is a shared responsibility between the provinces and CFS.
Despite these barriers, each of the four programs evaluated has also generally achieved, or is on track to achieve outputs, and progress has been made towards many of their outcomes. The most significant progress has been made in terms of supporting risk assessment and monitoring; collaborating with provinces, other federal departments, and internal groups; identifying threats; and protecting the Canadian forest industry’s natural resources at home and in terms of exports.
The following section assesses progress of the four programs evaluated toward the immediate outcomes of the Forest Disturbances suite of programs.
Immediate Outcome 1: Improved capacity to assess forest disturbances risk
Overall, the forest disturbances programs have increased risk-assessment capacity. The evidence indicates that CFS has collaborated with provinces and other federal agencies on risk assessment efforts, leading to the development of several risk frameworks and predictive tools for both pests and fires. These efforts have been well-received among provincial and federal stakeholders. While capacity has increased, gaps were identified in the individual programs that may impede further progress. These include shrinking scientific expertise, and limited risk assessments in new areas (this was particularly evident for Wildland Fire–S&T).
NFPS has contributed to improved capacity to assess forest disturbance risks due to pests through the creation of a risk analysis framework and collaboration with provinces. However, some provincial respondents indicated that additional capacity has yet to materialize in their jurisdictions.
- Most federal interviewees and more than half of provincial interviewees indicated that achievements had been made in this outcome area. Evidence provided by interviewees include the risk analysis framework, collaboration with CFS on risk analyses for emerald ash borer (EAB) and MPB, the risk analysis workshop led by CFIA in 2009, and the use of the NFPS contribution funding to hire provincial staff.
- Some provincial interviewees mentioned that the risk assessment capacity had not increased. Despite federal efforts, limited financial and human resources in some provinces has prevented them from taking advantage of new risk assessment tools.
- Some provincial and federal interviewees also noted that the risk analysis is limited in scope to zones where monitoring data already exists, since investments have not been made to achieve full field monitoring. For example, the approach being taken in the spruce budworm risk assessment was seen to focus only on Quebec for a pest that ranges from Alberta to Atlantic Canada.
FR–MPB contributed to increased risk assessment capacity by completing risk models that are now being used to predict the pattern of eastward progress of the mountain pine beetle.
- FR–MPB funding supported the collection of overwinter MPB mortality ground survey data which were used to identify infested areas on provincial Crown lands having the highest potential to produce beetles that would contribute to the eastern spread into Alberta. A model to forecast MPB overwintering mortality was developed and made operational for use in Alberta.
- In addition, the Program supported the development of a model for connectivity of different areas with respect to MPB spread. The connectivity modelling provided further insight to identify areas that should receive the highest priority for treatment.
FIAS has increased capacity to assess risks associated with intentionally-introduced alien species and unintentional pathways of introduction. Contributions to success in this area include data collection, predictive spatial models and risk maps for new invasive threats.
- Both provincial and federal stakeholders agree that CFS’ capacity has increased in terms of improved ability to identify risks. For example, CFS has developed methods and tools for risk analysis that it shares with provincial, national, and international partners. This is part of the concerted federal effort to evaluate the environmental, economic, and social risks posed by forest pests.
- CFS staff has compiled data sets on potential insect pests such as species of wood borers that attack cedars. Risk modelling and mapping tools have also been developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These tools can be applied to the brown spruce longhorn beetle (BSLB), where there is a need to understand the rate of spread.
- CFS has carried out modelling for risk areas in Canada that can be used to prioritize surveillance and achieve a better understanding of the greatest risk spots. CFS has also conducted studies on importing tree nurseries and adjacent forest areas and has been able to confirm that points of entry to Canada are high-risk areas.
Under the Wildland Fire–S&T Program, the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System (CFFDRS) and its subsystems are the main contributors to improving capacity to assess risk. These tools are widely used, but the system has not been updated since 1992 and it appears that provincial and territorial stakeholders are not aware of new CFS research in this area.
- Capacity to predict fire occurrence, behaviour and severity are largely dependent on the CFFDRS and its two sub-systems: the Fire Weather Index (FWI) System and the Fire Behaviour Prediction (FBP) System. This system, which has been under development since 1968, is used extensively by all jurisdictions year round. The last update occurred in 1992 when the FBP sub-component was added. This lack of updates was identified as a gap and many interviewees cited a need to improve the current system.
- While the CFFDRS was widely used, there were some research gaps around the area of climate change and differing forest types (e.g., boreal vs. Acadian, etc.). According to interviewees, these gaps have affected the ability of stakeholders to predict fire occurrence, behaviour and severity. However, they are currently the focus of CFS research efforts.
- The majority of jurisdictions indicated that staff had undergone training on the CFFDRS (including the sub-systems) with fire behaviour training being the most frequently cited. Currently, two national fire-behaviour courses are delivered through the Canadian Inter-Agency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC).
- The majority of respondents indicated that CFS research had provided “somewhat” or “a great deal” of information on the impacts of climate change on fire risk. At the same time, most recognized the need for further research in this area. Research needs brought up by interviewees included: continued improvement to quantify fire risk, better integration and linkages between research on climate change and fire risks; and increased general information for the wildfire management community.
Immediate Outcome 2: Improved forest disturbances monitoring capability
CFS S&T activities and funding under the Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity have contributed to an increased capability to monitor forest disturbances, primarily in terms of native and invasive alien pests. While capability to monitor fire disturbances has existed for some time, stakeholders generally believe efforts to update or expand these tools are needed. In terms of domestic pests and invasive alien species, some stakeholders indicated that increased efforts are required to support the replacement of highly-qualified personnel (at CFS and in the provinces) and that additional monitoring activities are currently needed.
There is general agreement among stakeholders that the NFPS has made progress in improving monitoring capacity to assess forest disturbances. There has been collaboration among the provinces and territories and the federal government toward this goal. However, there is concern that the CFS personnel base that is knowledgeable about these monitoring technologies is eroding over time, and that while monitoring capability may have improved, there is a capacity issue on the horizon.
- Most provincial respondents consider that progress has been achieved on monitoring, although some indicated that the outcome was in its early stages and that predictive tools were still under development. Provincial respondents reported that awareness and access to these technologies had increased through more interaction in the form of dialogue and meetings among the provinces, and especially within regions.
- Federal respondents unanimously agreed that progress had been made in monitoring and diagnostic work through contribution agreements with the provinces, sharing information on approaches and techniques, training, and development of new tools such as pheromone lures.
- Human resource capacity evidence appears to be mixed. One federal interviewee reported that a network of expertise in monitoring and diagnostics was being established. Moreover, NFPS funding has supported B.C. to lead a study to examine monitoring and diagnostics status across Canada, identify gaps and define a format for standardizing different systems so that data can be shared across jurisdictions. Provincial respondents noted that a useful survey (part of the B.C.-led effort) of capacity in diagnostics and taxonomy within provinces and federal agencies had been carried out, and that it demonstrated that highly-qualified expertise was disappearing through retirements.
- Several provincial interviewees reported that a major gap in monitoring and diagnostics has not been bridged by NFPS. These interviewees explained that since provinces have long-established monitoring systems, aligning their methods and increasing the area being monitored will be costly. However, without such an alignment, diagnosing multi-jurisdictional forest pest disturbances will remain difficult.
FR–MPB contributed to improving forest disturbances monitoring capability through numerous activities that improved the ability to delineate and characterize beetle-killed areas. These include remote sensing methodologies to analyse changing forest characteristics, and hydrology findings concerning forest practices for riparian areas and the effect of salvage logging on sub-catchment areas.
- FR–MPB has supported the development of methodologies to analyze the changes in forest characteristics. Remote sensing research has provided an improved ability to delineate and characterize beetle-killed areas by mapping dead timber and determining the year of death.
- FR–MPB funded a number of mapping, surveying and research projects designed to improve inventory knowledge. These included: air photo image processing for the Quesnel and Fort St James management units that provided timely input to spread-control and salvage planners; research on temporal change in wood quality attributes in standing dead beetle-killed lodgepole pine; a research project to investigate hyperspectral remote sensing technology for the development of natural resource management applications; and preliminary findings towards the use of LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging: an optical remote sensing technology that measures properties of scattered light to find range and/or other information of a distant target) and digital aerial imagery as sampling tools to characterize volume killed by mountain pine beetle.
- The Provincial Crown Forestlands Element implemented detection and control measures in the south Rockies during each year of the program. This was a priority area for FR–MPB, and it complied with Alberta's highest priority which was to protect its watersheds and mature pine forests on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. This element also implemented detection and control measures in the South Peace and North Peace regions in B.C., and in the adjoining Smoky and Lesser Slave Corporate Areas in Alberta.
- Predictive modeling for MPB spread is very valuable to provincial and federal government stakeholders. MPB models developed as part of FR–MPB are currently being used by B.C. and Alberta in their responses to the MPB.
FIAS contributions to improved monitoring include research and development of new surveillance and detection tools (for domestic and international monitoring) for several high priority invasive alien species. While CFS interviewees agreed that the monitoring capacity has increased, some stakeholders from OGDs expressed concerns that monitoring capacity has not actually increased.
- CFS interviewees reported that FIAS funding had contributed to advances in monitoring such as new tools for rapid detection, molecular tools, and new techniques, particularly for use in urban centres. According to these interviewees, CFS has also developed monitoring, detection, and identification methods for the Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer, butternut canker, scleroderris canker (European strain), sudden oak death, and aspen rust.
- In terms of monitoring international threats (i.e., importation), CFS supports the CFIA in continually attempting to identify pathways that are high risk for pests entering or leaving Canada. For example, CFS provides advice to CFIA on detection methods and selection of sites and trees for sampling. CFS contributes to discussions of the FIAS surveillance committee and has influenced decisions about the size of surveillance areas.
- While some interviewees in OGDs shared the view that NRCan has increased its capacity, as a result of FIAS, others believe that there has been no such increase. One respondent offered a possible explanation for this perception, noting that available capacity with current funding still leaves gaps in all aspects of FIAS, including monitoring and diagnostics, new tools, policy, economic assessment, and basic research.
The Wildland Fire–S&T Program manages tools used for monitoring fire disturbances such as the CFFDRS and CWFIS. However, while these tools are recognized as important, both users and non-users agree that they need to be updated to reflect current forest conditions and monitoring needs among provinces.
- CFFDRS and its two sub-systems – the Fire Weather Index System and the Fire Behaviour Prediction System – contribute to forest disturbances monitoring capacity. As noted earlier, while the system has been widely used since its inception in 1968, given that the systems have not been updated since 1992, little new capacity has been added since then.
- When fully implemented (expected to be in 2012), the CWFIS will monitor fire danger conditions across Canada, based on weather reporting and fire imaging derived from satellite information. Respondents expressed some confusion as to what the CWFIS actually was or how it could be used. Those who gave low ratings of its importance indicated that this was due to the complexity of the system, lack of interoperability with provincial/territorial systems, insufficient granularity and the need to further adapt and refine the system to reflect the forest types in their jurisdictions.
- Many stakeholders interviewed considered the enhancement of the CWFIS to be a high priority. They reported that ongoing changes in forest composition experienced by a number of jurisdictions needed to be reflected in the system, otherwise its use as a decision support tool will be compromised.
Immediate Outcome 3: Contributions to strategies, regulatory, and standards development
Forest Disturbances programming has made many strong contributions to strategies, regulatory, and standards development both domestically and internationally. These have typically been: CFS provision of research, representation on committees and boards, and as an organizing body for national strategies. There are indications, however, that success has been unevenly distributed across the programs. There are persistent concerns among stakeholders that, to be fully realized, the Wildland Fire Strategy requires more research, and the NFPS still has considerable ground to cover. As these strategies are federal-provincial partnerships, their success is contingent on the level of federal and provincial collaboration, including investments.
Some progress has been made on implementing the NFPS. The Program has set up governance mechanisms, identified key research gaps, and communicated the strategy at the national pest forum. However, there are some concerns among stakeholders around the S&T plan and sustainability of the Strategy.
- Stakeholders identified key gaps in S&T and noted that a plan for addressing these gaps has been developed. However there is no agreement among CFS and the provinces on the viability of the plan, as some interviewees felt that it was not complete, and others did not think it identified all research gaps (although a lack of shared understanding among federal and provincial respondents about the S&T plan may explain the divergence of views).
- The Program has had mixed success in terms of progress towards creating a national strategy. While there has been good progress in some areas of governance, including a functional working group and subsidiary bodies within the CCFM, long-term sustainability remains unresolved. As well, the cost-benefit study – meant to demonstrate the benefits of full implementation of the NFPS versus the cost of the investment – was seen by the majority of interviewed stakeholders as having significant analytical gaps.
- The NFPS has been a regular feature at the national pest forum in recent years. It was noted that the forum has been an effective means for advancing the Strategy, with information and feedback going in both directions between CFS and the provinces.
Although making contributions to strategies, regulatory, and standards development was not one of the outcomes of the FR–MPB Program, it has provided input into strategies developed by the governments of B.C. and Alberta to control the MPB outbreak.
The FIAS has allowed CFS to contribute S&T and analysis of emerging risks to new legislation and policies. For example, CFS has provided scientific advice to policy analysis on the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures on Wood Packaging 15 (ISPM 15) Footnote42, participated in international IAS related panels, and maintained continual and close interaction with CFIA on policies and regulations. Some OGDs, however, expressed concern that more progress is needed to meet the current level of threat.
- CFS scientists participate as members or chairs of national and international science advisory panels to provide scientific and subject-matter expert consultation on IAS-related issues. Respondents from OGDs generally agreed that NRCan has influenced the international arena in positive ways. For example, CFS is deputy coordinator of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations working group “Alien Invasive Species in International Trade.”
- NRCan interviewees reported that CFS has had a major role in influencing IAS standards, policies and science. They indicated that CFS has contributed to policy development through its participation on two North American Plant Protection Organization technical panels (invasive species and forestry), its contributions to developing and implementing the ISPM 15, its development and application of insect traps using pheromone lures, and interest from the U.S. in its database containing 50 years of historical data on pest surveys.
- Both NRCan and CFIA staff interviewed agreed that CFS provided regular scientific advice in support of legislation, regulations and policy frameworks (which prior to FIAS were seen to lack S&T information). CFS’ IAS work is being used by CFIA for drafting regulations to contain IAS without constraining the industry nor the development of CFIA national IAS guidelines. Research and risk assessment work on sudden oak death has contributed to CFIA’s national guidelines.
- Research under FIAS has also influenced technical standards (including phytosanitary standards) in other countries, opening up areas for trade in Canadian species of wood. For example, in Canadian green wood exports, CFS has addressed phytosanitary measures raised by the emerging market of India. CFS provided scientific advice to support the Canadian position on the risks posed by our green wood exports, thereby providing support for market access for Canadian softwood products. As a result of partial data from research related to the 2002 wood packaging standard, the European Union withdrew legislation that would have required complete bark removal and thus avoided a major cost for industry.
- Among OGD respondents, however, views are divided in terms of CFS capacity to advise on domestic and international phytosanitary measures. Some respondents indicated that although there is progress, it is far from meeting the current level of threat.
Wildland Fire –S&T
The Wildland Fire–S&T Program is a key contributor of science to the CWFS. CFS has made contributions to CIFFC and CCFM fire committees, and has provided policy advice to smaller jurisdictions in Canada. However, concerns remain that while the initial work on the CWFS has been completed, there are gaps that need to be filled in order to finalize the strategy. Moreover, some provincial interviewees identified information gaps that could be filled by further CFS research efforts in order to help their jurisdictions in policy formation.
- CFS’ scientific, policy and governance contributions to the development of the Canadian Wildland Fire Strategy (CWFS) are widely-recognized by key stakeholder interviewees. However, the CWFS has only been minimally implemented so far and current discussions to move forward on the CWFS are incomplete. For example, CCFM’s 2008-09 CWFS status update notes that only 5% of the agreed funding has been committed by provincial partners, leading to some success in coordinated preparedness and fire suppression efforts.Footnote43
- According to CFS records, provisions have been made for scientific endeavors to move the CWFS forward and allocations were made in February 2010 for the policy and governance work needed to complete the CWFS with provincial/territorial partners. However, no communication plan is evident to further develop the CWFS. It is important to note that the overall responsibility for the CWFS lies with the CCFM. CFS plays an important role because of its research capacity but is only one of 14 jurisdictions involved.
- Whereas many interviewees recognized the historical connection between CFS research and the CWFS, few were aware of any current work under way and they expressed disappointment over the lack of progress in implementing the Strategy.
- CFS has been active in fire committees of both CIFFC and CCFM and gives advice on policy and governance issues. Outside of CCFM and CIFFC, many respondents reported informal consultations on a one-to-one basis with CFS researchers. Some smaller jurisdictions relied on CFS advice in formulating policies around specific issues. However, the larger provinces reported using their internal experts and relying very little, if at all, on CFS to formulate policy. Some provinces/territories identified science research gaps in forestry that would, if filled by CFS, help formulate new policies on such issues as fire preparedness.
Immediate Outcome 4: Adaptation and mitigation options are developed
The Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity contributes to the development of adaptation and mitigation options through CFS research. Success in terms of developing adaptation and mitigation options has been most evident for FR–MPB and FIAS compared to the other sub-activity programs. It is also noteworthy that, across NFPS and FIAS programs, federal and provincial stakeholders do not generally agree on the progress of these multi-jurisdictional initiatives, and provincial stakeholders see a greater need for further research on adaptation and mitigation.
Federal and provincial stakeholders hold divergent views as to whether or not the NFPS has lead to adaptive options being developed. Federal stakeholders generally indicate that progress had been made, while many provincial stakeholders do not. This appears to be related to a perceived gap in ongoing scientific research on pest management options.
- About half of provincial respondents did not believe that pest management adaptation options had increased.
- Some provincial respondents indicated that pest management options have not been fully developed, require continued research, and are therefore no further ahead than before the NFPS. For example, pest management options were described by one provincial respondent as an area in which major and chronic gaps remain.
- By contrast, federal respondents hold largely positive views of the NFPS progress on developing adaptation options. They reported that risk analysis case studies have lead to the development of pest management options.
The FR-MPB Program has made progress in terms of developing adaptive options for MPB-affected communities, industry, and ecological zones. This has occurred mostly through the support of S&T projects focused on adaptive planning or recovery of value from beetle-killed wood.
- Stakeholder interviews revealed that FR-MPB delivered on options to foster the sustainability of forest resources and local MPB-affected communities by supporting economic diversification. Contributing achievements toward economic diversification include: the communication of geoscience survey results to the exploration industry; publication of remote sensing research to map dead timber and determine year of death; and plans to publicize hydrology research results from the past six years via the Fraser Basin Council.Footnote44
- FR-MPB funded research results have good potential to significantly improve efficiencies in capturing value from beetle-killed forests with new technologies for the pulp and paper and wood products industries. Concrete examples of this include two research projects with FPInnovations:
- development of a tall oil recovery technology for B.C. kraft mills that are using grey stage MPB-killed wood, with one mill estimating possible benefits at $4.8 million per year, with 30% attribution to FR-MPB; and
- development of a novel resin impregnation technology that has potential for future uptake in plywood/veneer mills and for engineered wood products and specialty plywood, with an estimated potential value to B.C. mills of $2 to 5 million per year.
- development of a tall oil recovery technology for B.C. kraft mills that are using grey stage MPB-killed wood, with one mill estimating possible benefits at $4.8 million per year, with 30% attribution to FR-MPB; and
- Results from several research projects have also provided the scientific foundation for estimating the impact of salvage harvesting on ecological and non-timber forest values. For example, the Forest Resources Element provides improved knowledge of the ecological risks associated with salvage harvesting of MPB-killed forests through its research projects focused on hydrology.
The Program has made numerous contributions to research in areas where potential new adaptation and mitigation options could be developed. This includes collaborative research with universities and OGDs related to tracking and trapping of invasive alien species. There is concern outside CFS that the Program tends to focus on new knowledge for detecting IAS rather than developing mitigation options, which is seen as an operational area for the provinces.
- Interviewees provided numerous examples of results in terms of progress towards the development of adaptation and mitigation options. Some noteworthy examples include participation in the DNA ‘bar code of life’ initiative led by the University of Guelph, which will build libraries of native species and allow for rapid identification of invasives. Other S&T efforts aim to test whether mass trapping used for the gypsy moth can be applied to brown spruce longhorn beetle (BSLB). Additional new knowledge is being sought using FIAS funding through CFS collaboration with the Mathematics Department at the University of New Brunswick, where mathematics and complex systems theory will be applied to spread models for emerald ash borer and BSLB.
- Among OGD respondents, views are divided on CFS’ contributions to this outcome. One respondent noted that CFIA has applied information generated by CFS in establishing more effective domestic programs to address IAS. Other respondents from OGDs were not convinced of greater effectiveness in this area. They said that although there is progress, it is far from meeting the level of threat.
- One NRCan respondent agreed that CFS has increased knowledge about IAS threats, but said that CFS does not pay much attention to mitigation options, owing to a reluctance to enter into what is seen as an operational area. A respondent from an OGD expressed similar views, reporting that CFS had increased its knowledge of IAS threats but had not made any progress in mitigation options.
The Wildland Fire Program does not contribute directly to developing adaptation and mitigation options. However, CFS contributions to FireSmart could be seen as enabling forest-based communities to undertake adaptive and mitigation measures towards unexpected forest fires. According to ProMis records, during the evaluation period, CFS undertook research on best practices for communities, but the impact of this was not addressed by interviewees.
Immediate Outcome 5: Awareness of forest pest issues
The two programs concerned with generating awareness of forest pest issues – NFPS and FIAS – have made good progress. A potential gap may exist, however, in translating awareness to up-take of pest management options (NFPS).
NFPS may have made progress in terms of awareness of impacts of forest pests. However, while it is generally accepted by stakeholders that awareness has increased, the translation of awareness into uptake of changed pest management practices has not occurred to any great extent.
- Provincial respondents were evenly divided on whether progress has been made in this outcome area. By contrast, federal government respondents held largely positive views of progress on this outcome.
- Provincial respondents uniformly agreed that learning and change had occurred as a result of NFPS, and that it had succeeded in bringing awareness of forest pest issues to higher levels within senior management in governments.
- Federal respondents also said that the NFPS had succeeded within a short period in raising awareness at CCFM about pest issues.
While awareness building was not part of the FR-MPB Program, evidence from interviews indicates that several program elements have increased awareness of the vulnerability of the living forest to pest disturbances.
Both NRCan and OGD interviewees agreed that progress has been made in generating awareness of IAS among stakeholders. This is due to outreach to industry, creation and distribution of publications, development of an IAS database, and CFS having representation on the IAS phytosanitary working group. There is some concern that awareness among the general public has not been a priority.
- The majority of NRCan respondents thought that positive results have been achieved in raising awareness, including awareness of IAS impacts on import and export markets. According to CFS scientists, awareness has been created through CFS scientific input to the IAS phytosanitary working group, innumerable media interviews on problem insects, identification guides and pamphlets, and outreach to municipalities.
- The majority of respondents from OGDs share the view that NRCan has created greater awareness of IAS among stakeholders through numerous activities. Examples of this include:
- the production of a comprehensive, national FIAS database capturing post-1995 and extramural information on invasive species from CFS, partners and clients;
- the production of a poster and web content based on the contents of the FIAS database and document library; this is to be a highly visible product to promote NRCan's existing knowledge of forest IAS and provide the story of FIAS in Canada; and
- the development of a virtual library to provide access to previously inaccessible documents on FIAS produced by CFS since 1920.
- the production of a comprehensive, national FIAS database capturing post-1995 and extramural information on invasive species from CFS, partners and clients;
- There was some indication from interviews that it may be beneficial for NRCan to engage more in promoting public awareness to complement current Environment Canada efforts.
The Wildland Fire Program does not contribute to awareness of forest pest issues.
Immediate Outcome 6: Improved information supports decision-making
The programs have generally contributed to improving information used in decision-making at NRCan, other federal departments, provinces, First Nations, industry, and in some cases internationally. This contribution comes from CFS scientific research, which most stakeholders believe to be highly valuable. However, concerns have been raised about the currency of some decision tools (Wildland Fire–S&T), and the pace at which the research is conducted to feed decisions (i.e., delays in administering grant and contribution (G&C) funding for research under NFPS).
There was widespread agreement among interviewed stakeholders that science knowledge of forest pests has increased through the NFPS Program. Evidence includes the scientific research associated with the risk assessments for major pests such as spruce budworm, MPB, and sudden oak death, as well as research that lead to the development of biocontrol products. While G&C funding was seen as important to completing this work, according to interviewees, more useful information on pests could have been generated with a less onerous G&C process.
- The majority of provincial respondents reported progress toward improved information for decision-making. The pest risk analyses carried out for spruce budworm, MPB, and sudden oak death has allowed the uncertainties in the science to be identified, which contributed to making policy decisions. Provincial respondents also indicated that knowledge had increased through better networking and collaboration with CFS and other provinces via the various NFPS meetings where knowledge of new invasive pests is discussed, and in workshops on species such as the spruce budworm that add to the knowledge base and help formulate tools for risk analysis.
- All federal respondents reported that progress was being made in this outcome area, pointing to the development of a biocontrol product that has enabled: biological research; the risk analysis case studies on spruce budworm, EAB, and MPB; and having a more organized forum for identifying the gaps in scientific knowledge (i.e., the national pest forum).
- Several provincial respondents recognized the value of providing contributions to the provinces for work that would not have been done had the funding not been available. However, the G&C process was seen as slow – on both the federal and provincial sides – and NFPS funding was often delayed, becoming available too late in the season to do the research. Other respondents indicated that the process was too onerous and that the research timeframe of two years under the contribution agreements is too short.
The Program has supported decision-making for beetle-killed wood recovery among First Nations, provinces and industry.
- Projects in the Ecological Impacts Element have provided information that may assist the B.C. Ministry of Forests and Range with post-beetle harvesting planning. This research is at an early stage, and there is a need for further analysis to determine exactly how these project results can help.
- Research projects have been undertaken on integrating wildlife and habitat values into salvage harvest decisions, and to post-beetle impacts on water flow and water quality. Both of these projects have impacts on maintaining First Nations salmon stocks.
- The Program has made significant contributions to improving post-beetle harvesting and manufacturing decisions. Research projects in the pulp and paper industry provided new research findings of value to the industry. In particular, research on the addition of waste fatty acids to black liquor provides a solution to an operational problem of tall oil recovery in kraft mills.
- Two research projects on veneer have provided new product opportunities for the wood products industry. Three research projects have developed decision support tools to help manage post-beetle forests for ecological values. Two projects related to increased bioenergy production were undertaken: an economic analysis of production resulting from the MPB outbreak in the B.C. interior; and a research project focused on assessing the technical feasibility of producing ethanol from beetle-killed lodgepole pine.
The FIAS Program has supported decision-making internationally with other federal departments, and at the provincial level, through its presence in working groups and committees. CFS scientists have provided advice to, and on behalf of OGDs in international fora in support of Canadian interests in trade issues, as well as advice on pest containment options. However, it is difficult to estimate the extent to which this information has been used in decision-making.
- According to NRCan interviewees, CFS often speaks internationally for other government agencies (e.g., the CFIA) on behalf of Canada in explaining the biology of certain pests, and in presenting technical reports and results of specialized research. CFS is often invited to present research results at venues in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. CFS scientists reported that this reflects their recognition as world leaders in this science, and that Canada’s scientific knowledge gives the country credibility and strengthens its trade potential overseas.
- NRCan and CFS staff are continually engaged in providing advice based on their scientific research to OGDs, provincial and territorial departments responsible for pest management, and internationally. Much of the advice is directed to the CFIA. For instance, CFS led an international science review panel that provided CFIA with advice on detecting and eradicating the Asian longhorn beetle. Following the accidental importation of uninspected raw logs from Russia, CFS provided a complete detection strategy for the CFIA to implement at the mill site for two years.
- At the provincial level, CFS is providing the B.C. Pest Advisory Council with scientific information and advice on the European gypsy moth. CFS is also working with the Maritime provinces, Quebec, and several First Nations communities on pest prevention strategies. CFS participates in Canada’s Sudden Oak Death Disease Task Force (a partnership of government agencies and industry professionals), chairing its science committee.
The CFS’ historical contributions to research and decision-support tools – such as the CFFDRS, FireSmart, and the coming CWFIS – are well-recognized and appreciated by stakeholders. However, in the last five years, outputs and contributions seem to have shifted from these decision-support tools to environmental priorities such as greenhouse gases. Stakeholders have identified growing research gaps that need to be filled in order for CFS’ decision-support tools to remain useful for informing wildland fire-related decisions.
- All non-CFS respondents indicated that they use CFS decision support tools to help prepare for the forest fire season. These tools are used daily to help predict needs and to pre-position fire fighting resources. Several of the larger provinces have adapted the CFS decision tools for their own use.
- Decision-support tools like the CFFDRS,developed by CFS, have been very well regarded by all provincial-territorial governments and are widely used for planning and making decisions on resource allocations. However, larger provinces are increasingly building on CFS research and provincial respondents cite gaps that need to be filled to make these decision-support tools more useful. CFS staff indicated that updating the decision support systems was “a work in progress” and one of their “highest priorities”.
- The CWFIS received mixed reviews, although all interviewees recognized the potential for this tool to play an important role. As noted earlier, many expressed some confusion as to what the CWFIS actually was or how it could be used. In particular, some gave low ratings of its importance, indicating this was due to the complexity of the system, lack of interoperability with provincial and territorial systems, insufficient granularity and the need to further adapt and refine the system to reflect the forest types in their jurisdiction. Moreover, half of those interviewed gave the development of an enhanced system a high level of importance.
- From the federal perspective, the CWFIS will be a key tool to inform NRCan when advising Parks Canada, Public Safety Canada, INAC and DND on wildland fire issues.
- Research in the area of the Wildland–Urban Interface (WUI) is proceeding in CFS now, but it is unclear how these results are being communicated to municipal governments and their communities. Interviews indicated that the relationship with FireSmart, a tool for disseminating decision-support information to communities (developed by Partners in Protection, an Alberta-based organization of which CFS was a founding partner) and based partly on CFS research, is the principal vehicle for disseminating such information. At this point, there does not seem to be a method to explicitly capture research results from WUI and build them into FireSmart or other platforms.
The following section assesses progress toward the intermediate outcomes of the Forest Disturbances suite of programs.
Intermediate Outcome 1: Applied risk analysis effectively identifies threats
Overall, progress has been made on applied risk analysis leading to threat identification. Forest Disturbances has lead to the creation of risk tools and frameworks, which are valued by stakeholders in provinces and other federal departments. It is important to note that with the exception of FR-MPB, CFS does not undertake the risk analysis on its own. Rather, it contributes tools to provinces for this purpose. In some cases, such as the NFPS and Wildland Fire–S&T, more work is needed to enhance capacity to conduct applied risk analysis.
The ongoing development of a national risk framework for pest management represents progress attributable to the NFPS in forest pest risk analysis and detection, and both provincial and federal interviewees agreed that this is of central importance to risk-based decision-making. They considered the framework to be the most useful tool developed by the Program. Moreover, many provinces have been able to adapt the tool for use in their own local conditions. However, few stakeholders were satisfied with the progress made in implementing the framework which remains in a draft form. However, it is important to note that responsibility for the NFPS is shared by CFS and the provinces.
- A majority of federal and provincial respondents agreed that progress has been made towards implementing the risk framework. They described it as a key or central result that allows stakeholders to understand the basis of a decision and the quality of the information that it is based on. It is considered to be a significant achievement to have a common risk framework that is adaptable and can be used by all of the provinces. It has also permitted the development of an action plan that brings the national risk framework approach to the provincial scale.
- Moreover, the largest group of provincial and federal interviewees (8 out of 25 interviewees) chose the risk framework and risk analysis as the most useful tool developed by the Program. Provincial respondents indicated that the risk framework implementation will have good applicability in the provinces. They reported that, once implemented, the risk assessment framework will allow provinces to conduct analysis with more rigor. Federal respondents indicated that the risk framework is the product upon which everything else in the NFPS is based. It will have the most practical impact on the ground, providing a common national perspective that can be interpreted locally.
- However, only two provincial respondents indicated good progress on implementing the framework. The majority of provincial respondents indicated that it is an outcome still in development and recognized the difficulty in developing a risk framework in which all provinces use the same measures in monitoring and surveillance. There is indication, from the interviews, that NFPS partners are at the initial stages of describing what an ideal system would be and that greater commitment and resources are needed to advance its development.
- Similarly, only one federal respondent thought that the implementation of the framework had been achieved, but even this individual indicated that gaps remain in terms of populating it with data. The majority of federal government respondents reported that the development of the risk framework was a fragmented effort or had not been established.
Progress has been made by FR-MPB in terms of applied risk analysis. As noted earlier, a number of new methodologies have been developed, including a risk assessment of the threats to Canada's boreal and eastern pine forests, several remote sensing methodologies for operational use, and connectivity analysis to characterize the jack pine forests for susceptibility to MPB infestation. All of these are in use and are identifying threats arising from the mountain pine beetle, particularly in terms of its spread into the boreal forest.
- Risk models and assessment tools have been completed and are being used to monitor the eastward spread of the mountain pine beetle. The risk assessment analyzes the threat of the mountain pine beetle to Canada's boreal and eastern pine forests. It identified a number of key points regarding vulnerability of boreal and eastern pine stands to mountain pine beetle and the potential impacts of future MPB activity.
- The work on connectivity is used to some degree in Alberta to identify high-risk areas to guide strategic resource development on where to place traps to monitor the spread of the beetle.
- The Program has also implemented a number of measures that strengthen forest health strategic planning on federal and provincial lands. For example, within the First Nations Wildfire Protection Element, silvicultural treatments required for fuel reduction were carried out based on risk analysis supported by FR-MPB.
The FIAS Program has contributed to applied risk analysis, particularly with respect to the brown spruce longhorn beetle (BSLB), and more recently with the emerald ash borer (EAB).
- CFS’ capacity to know more about how pests enter the country and what to do about them has increased due to the FIAS. For example, brown spruce longhorn beetle is an invasive alien species for which the spread and risk have been identified and mapped.
- CFS has been able to generate detailed maps for CFIA and Nova Scotia that show where they will likely find pests. CFS staff also indicated that with the extra resources from FIAS for developing this capacity, CFS was able to leverage other funds from CFIA for research on BSLB. Other CFS research in collaboration with the University of British Columbia applies detection techniques known as ‘light trapping’ and DNA bar coding that identified four new invasive species in Canada.
- CFS staff also noted that they are directing long-term research to understanding the major drivers of risk and predicting the spread of particular pests such as the emerald ash borer.
The Wildland Fire Program does not conduct applied risk assessment, but it provides the S&T research that supports risk assessment. Non-CFS stakeholders make regular use of its decision support tools to perform and act on risk assessments themselves. CFS research on climate change and fire risk has also been used by stakeholders but more work is needed in this area.
- All non-CFS interviewees consulted about Wildland Fire S&T noted that they use decision support tools provided by CFS (e.g., the CFFDRS) to conduct risk analyses to help prepare for the forest fire season. These tools were designed from CFS research efforts and plans are ongoing for CFS to update them based on more recent research.
- The majority of respondents indicated that CFS research had provided “somewhat” or “a great deal” of information on the impacts of climate change on fire risk. At the same time, most recognized the need for further research in this area. Research issues brought up by interviewees included: the need for continued improvement to quantify fire risk; better integration and linkages between research on climate change; and fire risks and increased general information for the wildfire management community.
Intermediate Outcome 2: Applied forest disturbance management techniques reduce economic and ecological impacts
Within the Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity, only the FR-MPB and FIAS programs are designed to contribute significantly to the development and implementation of forest disturbances management techniques. The evidence indicates that these programs have successfully helped to reduce environmental and economic impacts of pest and fire occurrences. From the outset, containing the mountain pine beetle was known to be impossible. However, provincial and federal stakeholders generally agree that FR-MPB direct control treatments did meet the stated objective of slowing its eastward progress.
The NFPS Program does not contribute to the applied forest disturbances management techniques outcome.
The FR-MPB has supported the development and implementation of a considerable number of forest pest and fire management techniques in an effort to reduce the environmental and economic impacts of the MPB, including prescribed burn treatments, silviculture treatments for fuel reduction, replanting, and rehabilitation efforts. For the most part, provincial and federal stakeholders believe that application of these techniques has slowed the progress of the MPB, and successfully mitigated the negative consequences of the beetle infestation (e.g., reduced risk of future epidemics, enhanced salvage of beetle-killed timber, etc.). However, progress was challenged by a number of environmental factors.
- Since 2006, there has been an expansion of the Prescribed Burn Program within the Federal Parks Element of FR-MPB, and silvicultural activities have increased on all of the lands included in the Community Safety Element. Replanting with deciduous species or other types of conifer, at wider spacing density, is included as part of FireSmart within the FR-MPB First Nations Wildfire Protection Element. According to evidence from stakeholder interviews, without FR-MPB, there would have been very little silvicultural work done on First Nations lands.
- The Program has implemented MPB control plans and activities on affected forest lands. Each element of the Controlling the Spread Program has had some success in slowing the eastward spread of the beetle.
- Interviewees report that in the south Rockies, the Provincial Crown Forestlands Element and the Federal Parks Element together succeeded in slowing the beetle's spread into southern Alberta. Similarly, stakeholders report that in north-west and north-central Alberta, control efforts under the FR-MPB and Alberta Sustainable Resource Development combined to slow the eastward spread.
- Detection and control measures were implemented on provincial Crown lands in the South Peace and North Peace regions in B.C., and in the adjoining Smoky and Lesser Slave Corporate Areas in Alberta. Under the Provincial Crown Forestlands Element, MPB survey and direct control measures were undertaken within the areas identified as priorities for slowing the eastward spread.
- In addition, both B.C. and Alberta interviewees agreed that FR-MPB direct control activity was successful in slowing the eastward spread of the mountain pine beetle. In November 2010, Alberta has also issued a press release attesting to this.Footnote45
- The Federal Parks Element has enabled Parks Canada to conduct a number of prescribed burns to reduce MPB habitat and provide direct control of the beetle in some cases. CFS conducted detection and monitoring activities of beetle populations in the national parks and these survey results provided the basis for Parks Canada's single-tree treatments and for its prescribed fire program.
- The Private Forestlands Element became fully subscribed very early, mainly for rehabilitation projects, and has been unable to fully satisfy the demand because of limited resources.
- Interviewees report that in the south Rockies, the Provincial Crown Forestlands Element and the Federal Parks Element together succeeded in slowing the beetle's spread into southern Alberta. Similarly, stakeholders report that in north-west and north-central Alberta, control efforts under the FR-MPB and Alberta Sustainable Resource Development combined to slow the eastward spread.
- In the FR-MPB Results-based Management Accountability Framework (RMAF), CFS committed to “slow the spread of the MPB infestation, including efforts to control its eastward progression.”Footnote46 Overall, slowing the eastern spread was known to be difficult due to a combination of:
- the massive aerial dispersal of the beetle into the South Peace area of north-eastern B.C. and north-west Alberta in 2006, prior to the start of FR-MPB; and the subsequent aerial dispersal from those areas into north-central Alberta in 2009 strengthened the beetle’s move eastward;
- mild winter climate conditions over much of the past decade have contributed to substantially higher beetle survival rates and the lack of moisture due to higher temperatures has stressed trees, reducing their ability to defend against beetle attack; and
- the successful suppression of forest fires in recent decades, forest landscapes now have a much greater percentage of old trees; older, large-diameter trees are the beetle’s preferred hosts and the trees are less able to defend against beetle attack.Footnote47
- the massive aerial dispersal of the beetle into the South Peace area of north-eastern B.C. and north-west Alberta in 2006, prior to the start of FR-MPB; and the subsequent aerial dispersal from those areas into north-central Alberta in 2009 strengthened the beetle’s move eastward;
- However, CFS believes that it has contributed to slowing the rate of the spread based on the modelling research that they have conducted on the effectiveness of implemented control measures in the Peace River and Southern Rockies regions.Footnote48 The model used in this research suggests that the rate of the spread has been slowed in regions where FR-MPB has undertaken direct control mitigation activities. The CFS model calculated the number of trees that would have been killed in the Peace River and southern Rockies regions without FR-MPB direct control treatments. According to this model, during 2006 and 2007 a total of 73,500 trees were projected to have been killed due to beetle infestation in the absence of FR-MPB interventions, compared to 59,000 with the direct control mitigation activities. Similarly, between 2006 and 2009, these figures are 155,000 (no intervention) vs. 100,499 (with direct control mitigation activities) in the southern Rockies region.
FIAS-supported research has lead to the development of new brown spruce longhorn beetle (BSLB) detection techniques, which have been applied in Atlantic Canada. FIAS activities have also helped mitigate economic impacts of IAS by reducing trade restrictions on Canadian wood as a result of IAS management and detection tools.
- CFS staff noted that Canadian credibility in international fora on IAS management has been an integral part of securing export permissions in various target markets for Canadian wood.
- In addition, CFS researchers are developing fungal detection tools to prevent trade issues among risk averse countries importing untreated green wood from Canada.
- According to CFS interviewees, CFS has increased its understanding of chemical ecology related to modern IAS detection techniques that rely on the pheromones that insects use to communicate. CFS has patented new detection techniques for BSLB using the pheromone lures. Some 2,000 lures have been set out in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. The lures are also in use by the CFIA.
The Wildland Fire Program does not contribute to the applied forest disturbances management techniques outcome.
Intermediate Outcome 3: Relevant stakeholders are engaged and CFS is collaborating with them
Stakeholder engagement and collaboration has been strengths of the Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity. Stakeholder interviews across all programs demonstrated CFS linkages with other departments and jurisdictions (including provinces and territories), and collaborative efforts to manage forest pests and fire. Moreover, in terms of S&T, there is collaboration within CFS (e.g., coordination between FR-MPB, NFPS research, and Wildland Fire prescribed burns). A minority of interviewees believe that the engagement of important stakeholders (i.e., larger provinces, First Nation groups, the Canadian Forces, and in the case of FIAS, CFS scientists) could be improved.
The success of the NFPS depends on widespread engagement of stakeholders in order to be meaningful, and the evidence suggests that a strong level of engagement has been achieved. Provinces generally report an interest in participating in the NFPS in order to increase their capacity to address forest pests. However, engagement may be limited to provinces with CFS research centres (i.e., New Brunswick, Québec, Ontario, Alberta, and B.C.), and there is some indication of limited engagement among certain important stakeholders (i.e., First Nations and the Canadian Forces).
- A majority of provincial respondents reported that they are engaged with NFPS. Some respondents noted that the NFPS began in a favorable context as provinces facing threats such as the MPB, climate change, and others were more than willing to participate in the development of the Strategy. Smaller jurisdictions noted that it was in their best interest to engage since they had little capacity in specialized areas such as diagnostics and S&T. A majority of federal respondents agreed that engagement of relevant stakeholders has been achieved.
- Both federal and provincial respondents report progress in establishing the pest management working group and sub-groups within the CCFM, and indicate that it reflects the recognition by forest ministers of forest pest management issues.
- The collaboration across provinces toward standardizing monitoring information for the NFPS Technical Advisory Group (TAG) is a clear example of engaged participation. All respondents agree that the common information framework, currently being developed, has had input from across the country through the TAG. Provinces and territories have agreed to standardize information to ensure that data are in a format that others can use. These data will feed into a national database that will be able to produce insect spread maps and link these to risk.
- Some provincial respondents reported that engagement with CFS varied by province, and that engagement in research can be weaker in provinces that have no regional CFS research centre. Other comments from provincial respondents suggested that important stakeholders, such as the First Nations and the Canadian Forces, have yet to be engaged.
The FR-MPB has successfully engaged and collaborated with relevant stakeholders in B.C., Alberta, First Nations communities, and other federal departments.
- The Program consisted of jointly agreed upon activities that were delivered in collaboration with British Columbia, Alberta and other federal departments such as Parks Canada, and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC).
- The Program supported the removal of hazard trees from 294 recreational sites and 20 recreational trails in B.C. This project was undertaken with the B.C. Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts and included 86 archaeological site assessments requiring the participation of First Nations groups.
- The projects conducted under the First Nations Wildfire Protection Element have helped First Nations to manage their forest resources. Projects have created an incremental interest in pest management within the communities, and have created employment for band members by building capacity and opportunities for similar work off reserve.
- The Program’s economic diversification function provided new geophysical survey data that has stimulated interest in the exploration industry. As a result, there has been an increase in staking activity by industry in the B.C. and Alberta areas covered by the Program.
The FIAS has successfully collaborated with domestic and international partners on a number of IAS projects. There is some indication that engagement of CFS scientists on pest-related issues could be increased.
- CFS staff report that advice is continually flowing to the CFIA on various pests such as the Asian gypsy moth and its introduction into Canada. Some of the relationships existed before FIAS, but collaboration has increased with the advent of the Program.
- Under the FIAS, CFS coordinated a national effort to bring together governments (CFS, CFIA, DFAIT, provinces) and the Canadian forest industry to provide up-to date information on international forest phytosanitary issues that could impact trade and allow for strategic decision making.
- CFS has collaborated with the United States Department of Agriculture (Forest Service) and Canadian universities in the study of Asian long horn beetle (ALHB) with the purpose of ensuring that international efforts are complementary.
- The above examples of collaboration and engagement, notwithstanding, some CFS scientists said that they could provide even more scientific advice on control options if they were engaged by decision makers on more pest issues. Some CFS scientists expressed disappointment that they were not brought in earlier on the MPB, where they see scope for using pheromones and where they say that there is a need for strong control objectives.
The Wildland Fire Program engages with stakeholders through publishing scientific research on forest fire, participation in CIFFC and CCFM fire committees, and informal consultations. However, larger provinces tend to act more independently of CFS, and research gaps have been identified by others.
- A Bibliometric analysis conducted in 2008 indicated that CFS fire research is recognized as a specialty and is well connected within Canada and internationally. In the period 1991-2006, CFS produced 163 papers on forest fire. According to the same study, CFS publications with the highest level of impact (based on citations worldwide) were forest fire and forest conditions monitoring and reporting, two areas in which it was specialized.Footnote49
- CFS has been active in both fire committees of CIFFC and CCFM and gives advice on policy and governance issues. Outside of CCFM and CIFFC, many respondents reported informal consultations on a one-to-one basis with researchers. Some smaller jurisdictions relied on CFS advice in formulating policies around specific issues. However, the larger provinces reported using their own experts and relying very little, if at all, on CFS to formulate policy. Some provinces and territories identified research gaps in forestry that would help formulate new policies (e.g., on fire preparedness).
- CFS fire research has little profile among the maritime respondents, but this is likely due to the higher severity and frequency of fire issues in other provinces compared to Atlantic Canada.
The following section assesses progress towards the ultimate outcome for the Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity based on the four programs examined.
Ultimate Outcome: Effective management and responses to forest disturbances in Canada
Overall, the Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity appears to be on track to effectively manage and respond to forest disturbances in Canada. The evaluation found evidence that progress has been made towards meeting the ultimate outcome but a number of gaps have been identified. Assuming that progress achieved to date continues and the identified gaps are addressed, it is logical to expect that the ultimate outcome will be met by the Forest Disturbances suite of programs.
The component sub-sub-activities have generally achieved, or are on track to achieve their outputs, and progress has been made towards many of the outcomes. The most significant progress has been made in supporting risk assessment and monitoring; collaborating with provinces, other federal departments and internal groups; identifying threats; and protecting the Canadian forest industry at home and in terms of access to export markets.
Although the programs are on track to achieve outcomes, a number of important challenges need to be addressed in order to fully achieve the immediate and intermediate outcomes that lead to effective forest disturbances management. These potential barriers to progress include loss of highly qualified scientific staff; the capacity of provinces to expand monitoring work; the national level strategies yet to be fully implemented (i.e. NFPS and CWFS); and the need for more research to fill pest and fire management gaps and to update risk assessment and monitoring tools.
- Examples of progress include: the creation of the risk analysis framework; collaboration with provinces particularly in terms of agreements to standardize data; greater capability to monitor forest pests; identification of research gaps through a needs assessment; greater awareness of pest issues; and greater scientific-knowledge of forest pests.
- The evaluation identified some important limitations in progress toward the ultimate outcomes. For example, there are still S&T research gaps in part due to a slow moving G&C process, and in part due to a perceived lack of research on new risk areas. Also, although awareness of risks has increased, these have not yet been translated into actions to address these risks. The findings also indicate that the draft risk framework for NFPS has not yet been implemented as a strategy, and that some stakeholder groups have yet to be engaged on a meaningful level.
- Program accomplishments include: risk models that are being used to predict MPB spread; improved ability to characterize, delineate, and recover value from beetle-killed wood; coordinated control activities with B.C., Alberta, INAC, and Parks Canada; research contributing to new monitoring tools; and pest and fire management techniques have been implemented in high risk areas. CFS modelling has also indicated that in areas where there has been direct control activities, the number of mountain pine beetle-killed trees has been smaller than it would have been in the absence of these activities.
- Efforts at slowing the MPB spread have been overwhelmed by two unforeseen aerial dispersions of the beetle in 2006 and 2009, coupled with a warming climate and the prevalence of mature lodgepole pine trees in high concentrations. The fact that the impact of the combination of these factors was unforeseen indicates a gap in the ability to predict threats that must be addressed. That said, the degree to which science is able to address this gap is limited because of the difficulty in predicting weather patterns (e.g., aerial dispersals are a result of weather patterns which are difficult to foresee).
- FIAS S&T has: increased the capacity to assess risks for the introduction of alien species; provided support for S&T in monitoring and detection (particularly with BSLB); made important scientific contributions to policy in OGDs (both domestic and international); contributed to phytosanitary research used to protect Canadian wood exports; and engaged key government and industry stakeholders.
- Respondents indicated that funding gaps at the federal and provincial levels limit new capacity to monitor invasive alien species. Concerns were also raised that current research is too focused on monitoring rather than developing mitigation options, and that more work is needed to enhance general public awareness of invasive alien pests.
- The Program can point to many historical accomplishments. The CFFDR is widely used for monitoring and risk assessment, and CFS tools, including the soon to be implemented CWFIS are highly valued. As well, S&T research has contributed to developing the CWFS and to decision-making in provincial jurisdictions.
- However, progress toward the ultimate outcome of effective management of forest disturbances during the period of the evaluation (2005-06 to 2009-10) was constrained. Key risk assessment and decision support tools used by stakeholders have not been updated in some time, which increasingly limits their usefulness in assessing risks. Stakeholders were also concerned that CFS needs to fill research gaps to remain relevant in Wildland Fire decisions.
3.2.2 To what extent are the sub-sub-activities producing outputs and generating impacts effectively and using the most economic means to achieve the intended outcomes?
Overall, feedback from interviewees indicates that the programs were being run efficiently, and the majority of respondents stated that the programs could not be more economical in achieving their objectives. Collaborative approaches that utilize the resources, knowledge, and expertise of partner organizations were frequently cited as making positive contributions to efficiency and economy. The well-regarded professionalism of CFS researchers and staff was cited as evidence of good value for money. Some interviewees mentioned a need to maintain staffing levels and develop succession planning for some of the programs.
Interviewees did not report that the programs were duplicating efforts or that they could be performed better and more cost-effectively elsewhere. Suggestions around alternatives that may provide greater efficiency and economy often centred on providing more opportunities for collaboration, increasing coordination, or improving grant and contribution processes to ensure the timely flow of funding.
The National Forest Pest Strategy was seen by many interviewees as an efficient operation that engaged people across the country at minimal cost. The contribution agreements with the provinces allowed CFS to draw on provincial resources. This was seen by several interviewees as a way for the NFPS to avoid high expenses, as CFS could lead the national level directional components more cost-effectively than the provinces (without the federal level coordination, the risk of duplicating efforts by addressing similar priorities or duplicating research efforts may actually be higher).
A small number of interviewees felt that the initiative was inefficient due to staffing turn-over, a rushed application process for grants and contributions, and delays in delivering funding. Suggestions to improve efficiency included the creation of a formalized NFPS directorate, and flexibility in G&C fiscal year-end dates. Little or no duplication was cited with other initiatives. Further suggestions for improving efficiency and economy centred on better coordination and communication at a national level (e.g., better communication of the risk analysis framework within CFS, and applying the framework to establishing research priorities and allocating funds).
Respondents could not identify a clear way to improve the efficiency with which the FR–MPB was delivered. The Program is viewed as the most economic means of achieving the intended objectives, and any alternative means of delivery would not necessarily provide better economy. Suggestions for cost savings included sharing of conference facilities for workshops and vehicles for field trips, new funding guidelines and a new application form, and locating CFS forestry officers in the field. No other programs currently focus on wildfire protection or hazard tree removal from First Nations lands, municipal lands, or recreation sites, therefore there appears to be no overlap or duplication.
Regular meetings of provincial natural resource ministries and federal representatives to discuss work plans in Alberta and B.C. contributed to efficient delivery of FR–MPB. While not part of the FR–MPB Program, the Spread Control Overview Team (SCOT) used under the Provincial Crown Forestlands Element provided an efficient process for coordination between B.C. and Alberta. A memorandum of understanding was also signed with CFS to facilitate information sharing. SCOT used CFS MPB models to inform decisions on where to concentrate mitigation activities.
Some potential for improvement was identified concerning governance, jurisdictional issues with the provinces, and the resulting ability to set priorities and make funding decisions. It was suggested that FR–MPB program management may have benefitted from being formally represented on SCOT in order to influence priority setting towards slowing the eastward spread of the beetle. That said, SCOT was a B.C.–Alberta committee, so an enhanced CFS role here may still have had limited impact on priority setting.
The Federal Invasive Alien Species Initiative was seen by interviewees to employ a collaborative team approach that operated efficiently with other government departments and provinces. Interviewees reported that budget levels were sufficiently low to ensure that there was no surplus of funds. Suggestions from respondents that may provide greater efficiency and economy included enhanced coordination to limit duplication and to ensure that information was useful for stakeholders. Further suggestions from a few CFS interviewees were that efficiency and economy could be augmented with retention of trained scientific staff and succession planning to help create the next generation of specialists, and more collaboration via periodic national meetings of specialists.
Interviewees indicated that the fire-related research would not have been done without the CFS researchers. Most could not cite any examples of overlap or duplication. Although production of papers on fire was actually higher than the previous period, several interviewees expressed concerns with capacity and funding levels, which were lower than the previous period. Suggestions for improved efficiency and economy related to collaboration, specifically sharing of information and partnering in future research. More than one interviewee suggested establishing a national ‘fire forum’ similar to the National Pest Forum. Some interviewees suggested reorientation of CFS fire-related research around emerging national issues such as public safety, ecological management and wildland fire in relation to the reduction of greenhouse gases.
Appendix 1: Forest Disturbances Sub-Activity Composite Outcomes Model
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