Maple Sugar Bush Management and Biodiversity Conservation in Eastern Ontario, Canada

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Title: Maple Sugar Bush Management and Biodiversity Conservation in Eastern Ontario, Canada
Authors: Clark, Kristin
Date: 2011
Abstract: This thesis examines the extent to which sugar bush management in Eastern Ontario might contribute to biodiversity maintenance and conservation and therefore be promoted as a form of rural sustainable development. Ontario government policy seeks to actively promote actions that strengthen the province’s rural communities and protect biodiversity. Therefore sustainable development is an important concept to encourage in rural areas. The production of maple syrup on sugar bushes has already been demonstrated to be economically, socially, and in some aspects ecologically sustainable. This study seeks to determine how the operation of sugar bushes might also contribute to ecological sustainability through the maintenance and conservation of forest biodiversity. I identified three documents published by the Eastern Ontario Model Forest (EOMF): a set of management principles for conserving biodiversity on private woodlots, a list of biodiversity indicators, and a manual for monitoring them. I monitored three of the biodiversity indicators (spring ephemerals, birds, and frogs) on three of the larger sugar bushes in the Eastern Ontario and established that the EOMF biodiversity monitoring practices and guidelines were suitable for working sugar bushes. Using the management principles for biodiversity conservation developed by the EOMF, I interviewed 22 sugar bush operators in Eastern Ontario. With these interviews I addressed two objectives: 1. To generate empirical information regarding the management practices of maple sugar bush operators in Eastern Ontario and to compare these with established management principles for forest biodiversity conservation in the region 2. To generate suggestions for woodlot operators and government policymakers alike about future opportunities for research and management decision-making. The results of the study show that although most operators do not have a formal management plan for their sugar bush, many of their management practices are consistent with prescribed biodiversity conservation principles. Sugar bush operators are receptive to conserving biodiversity on their properties. The findings suggest that through sound management and planning, small-scale commercial sugar bush operations generally can be made environmentally sustainable, and become important components in broader rural development strategies. This study provides new insights into how small-scale sugar bush management, when practiced well, is consistent with conservation principles and with sustainable development principles more generally. It shows how sugar bush operators in Eastern Ontario can help the province reach its goals of biodiversity conservation and rural development set out in Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy (2005) and Ontario’s Rural Plan (2004).
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/20335
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-4984
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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