Webinar - Managing Riparian Areas and Wetlands in an Integrated Approach to Forest Ecosystem Management

Marcel Darveau
Resource Date:

Wetlands and riparian areas occupy approximately 30% of the >2,000,000 km² of commercial boreal forests in North America and have been a major focus of forestry research since the late 1970s. To conserve these areas numerous government regulations and voluntary best practices oriented largely toward the protection and management of riparian areas in forest-dominated landscapes have been developed. However, the integration of wetland conservation and riparian management across jurisdictions and the need to relate these aspects of the ecosystem to ecological management objectives and beneficial environmental outcomes have received little attention. In June 2017, DUC organized a special session on this topic under the auspices of the North American Forest Ecology Workshop, held in Edmonton. Six presentations reviewed current definitions, mapping/delineation techniques, ecosystem-based management contexts for the land-water interface, and how two forest companies handle and operationalize wetland and riparian knowledge. Following the presentations, a panel discussion addressed five key questions: (a) does current riparian management fully address/comprise wetlands and their associated ecosystem functions?; (b) does wetland conservation in forest management adequately capture riparian ecological functions and ecosystem services?; (c) what are some key gaps in understanding?; (d) are any components of the terrestrial to aquatic areas interface overlooked by focusing on riparian management and wetland conservation?; and (e) what recommendations can we make to forest managers and regulators to improve the integration of wetland and riparian management within the context of the terrestrial to aquatic interface in forest dominated-landscapes? In this webinar, we will provide an overview of the presentations and see how panel discussions provided answers to the questions.