Logging and Environmental Issues at Algonquin Park

Instructions:
In an 10 to 12-page double-spaced paper, (including title and reference pages, and APA formatted)
provide a set of recommendations that would position the Park ecosystem for the long run. You will argue
for a course of action grounded in citizenship principles; that is, solving the problem/opportunity from a
big picture standpoint. You will pay special attention to the following:
 Analyze how issues have evolved and how to address them,
7
 Analyze how the interests and values of all stakeholders may compromise for a greater good,
 Argue for a course of action that takes into consideration the particular environment of the Park
and evaluate its impact on the overall ecosystem’s future. The course of action may recommend a
new forest practices model, manage the hydrological impacts, expand protected zones, etc…
Your paper should include three major sections.
1. Introduction: introduce the problem opportunity to your readers and your suggested course of
action.
2. Analysis and suggestions: this is where you show your skill and ability to solve problems and
capitalize on opportunities. You will take a global citizen approach to analyze the situation and
make recommendations for the Park’s ecosystem. You are to argue for your solution from a
global citizenship standpoint by addressing the details of the situation identified in the case study.
You should emphasize the three areas identified in the instructions by the above bullet points.
3. Conclusion: conclude your paper by summarizing the problem/opportunity and your
recommendations and tell your readers, briefly, how and why your solution would address the
Park’s needs.

ANSWER

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Logging and Environmental Issues at Algonquin Park

Introduction

Algonquin Provincial Park is the oldest provincial Park in central Ontario, established in 1893, a rich source of ecological diversity, cultural heritage, and economic value. Five primary objectives guide the establishment of the Park. They include preserving headwaters and watersheds, preserving the native forest, and the protection of flora and fauna. Moreover, it was established to provide an area that forestry experimentations could be facilitated and offer service for the people to enjoy wholesome resorts and enjoy the pleasure benefits of touring and learning about nature and the planet (Sadeghi, Bulmer, Bridges, & Ding, 2015). In the Forest’s Management Plan, the Algonquin Provincial Park’s primary goal is to protect the natural and cultural features of the central forest and nature while continuously creating nigger opportunities and recreational services for the people through the extensive wilderness and environmental experiences. Moreover, the Park aims to contribute to ecological well-being through the sustainable development of natural resources and the growth of the region’s cultural, social, and economic spheres of life. The Park protects the region’s cultural and natural heritage by placing a high value on flora and fauna (APF, 2020). The Park is a natural ecological beauty with serenaded lakes, providing environmental and cultural significance to the Algonquin First Nation communities and visitors. It becomes an economic base as it provides employment opportunities for tourism, protection, and recreational services as well as providing resources for production in the region such as logging and environmental or forestry experimentations.

Understanding the background of Algonquin Provincial Park helps frame and define the primary problem that it faces. The goals and objectives of the Park are facilitated and determined by different stakeholders. The park management encompasses internal and external stakeholders, including Ontario’s governmental agencies, environmental officials, logging companies, the Park’s initial administration, NGOs, and the local community. All these stakeholders have diverse and distinct values, interests, and perceptions regarding the Algonquin Provincial Park’s goal and purpose. The governmental agencies, the Park’s management, and environmental officials require the Park to contribute to ecological well-being through sustainable development of natural resources and the growth of the region’s cultural, educational, social, and economic spheres of life (APF, 2020). The logging companies focus on the Park’s economic wealth and value as they have diverse tree species to use and sell as timber or pulp. The local community comprising the First Nation communities views the Park in a cultural lens, where it symbolizes their cultural heritage and provides cultural value (Sadeghi, Bulmer, Bridges, & Ding, 2015).

Analysis and Suggestions

The stakeholders’ diverse values and perceptions present a conflict of interest among them and the primary problem the Algonquin Provincial Park faces. The conflicting interests have resulted in minimal protection of the fauna and flora in the Park, with increased ecological degradation and forest policies that do not focus on maintaining the preservation and protection of the environment, rather, encouraging damaging forestry practices. As some of the stakeholders pursue their interests, others, mainly the local community members, are excluded in decision-making, thus prioritizing the economic values and benefits over the cultural significance and ecological well-being (Sadeghi, Bulmer, Bridges, & Ding, 2015). Continuous logging has resulted in regeneration problems for some tree species, wildlife distress, increased fragmentation of the habitats, roads built in the parks acting as obstacles for plant and animal movements, thus diminishing reproduction and regeneration of both plants and animals. Therefore, these problems have resulted in impaired and decreased wilderness experiences for visitors, ecological disruptions accompanied by species losses, insufficient environmental protection, conservation, and promoted cultural loss due to disrupted cultural practices such as hunting and fishing for sport, pleasure, and livelihood sustenance (Kryzanowski, 2015).

This presents a problem that does not affect just one party but four parties: the government, local community, environment, and logging businesses. Through governance frameworks, forest practices, laws, regulations, and developed policies, all parties have ratified and shared benefits from the Algonquin Provincial Park. This becomes complicated in designing the most effective and comprehensive solution that includes all stakeholder interests. The conflicting interests currently present some stakeholders with a higher benefit and advantage over the others, which is considered unethical practices according to business ethics and contractarianism. According to the Hobbesian perspective, contractarianism argues that people have self-interests, which is their nature; therefore, in such a situation with Algonquin Provincial Park, the many stakeholders have diverse interests, presenting a conflict (Bowie, 2017).

According to Hobbs, the solution would involve conducting a rational assessment of the circumstances and developing the most appropriate solution and strategy that considers and attains all diverse self-interest. This results in creating a morally and definitive solution benefiting all stakeholders. Therefore, the proposed and recommended solution that complies with the Hobbesian line of thought is introducing a new Forest Practice Model. This model will provide a middle ground and rational strategy that covers, addresses, and satisfies the interests and benefits of the Algonquin Provincial Park to Ontario’s governmental agencies, environmental officials, logging companies, the Park’s initial management, NGOs, and the local community. The model will also act as a guide course of action for consideration and ratification.

The new Forest Practice Model is a comprehensive framework that aims to lower the ecological degradation practices and spillover effects from the conflicting stakeholder interests and the adverse effects of commercial logging and forest harvesting in Algonquin Provincial Park. This model’s proposed and recommended solutions will ensure the rebirth and increased protection of the park’s biodiversity and traditional lands of the local communities, considering all stakeholders’ values, needs, and interests (Sadeghi, Bulmer, Bridges, & Ding, 2015). Therefore, the Forest Practice Model will create a common ground and balance of the park’s integrity, cultural conservation, and economic value. The model and framework’s key aspects include strategies on useful and careful logging, rehabilitation and regeneration strategies for endangered species and abandoned logging roads. In addition to developing sustainable forestry practices, significantly lowering the current ecological footprint. Moreover, it will propose policy amendments and improvements to ensure all stakeholder values’ accomplishment without compromise or granting some stakeholders a higher bargaining position than others will.

Logging companies are primary stakeholders in the Algonquin Provincial Park. Their presence as stakeholders presents both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages or benefits of logging are that it has created an immense employment opportunity for people in Ontario in the logging, distribution, and sawmills, to mention a few. Commercial logging contributes positively to the region’s GDP and economic growth; thus, eliminating logging entirely in the park will affect many people regarding their livelihood sources (Kryzanowski, 2015). The disadvantages of commercial logging in the park include regeneration problems for some tree species, wildlife disturbance, increased fragmentation of the habitats, roads built in the parks acting as barriers for plant and animal movements, thus impairing reproduction and regeneration of both plants and animals. Therefore, these problems have resulted in impaired and decreased wilderness experiences for visitors, ecological disruptions accompanied by species losses, insufficient ecological protection, and conservation, and promotes cultural loss due to disrupted cultural practices such as hunting and fishing or sport, pleasure, and livelihood sustenance (Sadeghi, Bulmer, Bridges, & Ding, 2015). Therefore, the model recommends saving the jobs, maintaining the region’s GDP, ensuring trees species are not affected, and sustainable, careful, and significant commercial logging is taken. This includes sustainable forest harvesting techniques, considering logging those trees that the AFA argues can be risky to humans and those naturally selected, and subjected to natural calamities such as lighting striking. The model suggests mimicking the natural selection process, whereby those deemed weak with minimal survival rates could be targeted for logging. Moreover, careful logging would include integrating mechanical harvesting that combines the feller bunchers and grapples skidders in forest harvesting (Kryzanowski, 2015). These machines provide an opportunity to reduce tree chocking, and as the logs are transported, bumping into other trees and skinning their bark is eliminated. Sustainable logging thus provides a just and mutual ground for local communities through maintenance of job opportunities, a chance to save the tree species, which translates in increased ecological protection and maintaining the economic value and benefits.

In addition to mechanical and sustainable forest harvesting, logging, and the roads created in the park affect species’ regeneration. Therefore, rehabilitation and the new forest practices model recommends regeneration strategies for endangered species and abandoned logging roads. In the logging processes, roads are built to access the park’s logging sites and for effective transportation of trees to other processing activities. Once a particular area and logging site is completed, the built roads remain unused and have destructive effects on the animals and plants in that specific part in the park. The presence of unused and abandoned roads in the park act as barriers for plant and animal movements and regeneration (Sadeghi, Bulmer, Bridges, & Ding, 2015). They present unstable and thinned soil that depletes soil nutrients that deters the growth of new and existing trees and seedlings. Overly, this impairs both plants and animals’ reproduction and regeneration with ecological disruptions accompanied by species losses, poor ecological protection, and conservation. Moreover, having these roads makes the park areas susceptible to soil erosion, which may increase siltation, sedimentation, and possible removal of topsoil nutrients.

With the current situation, the affected stakeholders are the park itself as their role of protecting and conserving the environment is diminished. The environment is affected as well, and the local communities are affected, as these roads are destructive symbols and disruptors to conducting cultural activities such as hunting effectively. Therefore, the new model recommends that bio-transforming the abandoned roads be undertaken, where decomposing aiders and agents are spread on these roads to stimulate new plant species’ growth in the area. Biotransformation is the transformation process in which organic or inorganic compounds are turned from one form to another in the quest to reduce persisting toxicity of their existence. Therefore, with hog fuel and decomposition aiders such as fungi, growth stimulation can occur on the abandoned roads. Rehabilitating and regeneration strategies for endangered species and abandoned logging roads is a win-win situation for the stakeholders involved (Sadeghi, Bulmer, Bridges, & Ding, 2015). For instance, the environment, First Nation communities, the Algonquin Provincial Park management, and governmental agencies have their interests and values protected and promoted. This is because the suggested recommendations help preserve the native forest, protect flora and fauna, protect the natural and cultural features of the primary forest and nature, while continuously creating diversity opportunities and contributing to environmental well-being through the sustainable development of natural resources. The economic value is also protected as new, existing, or previously logged tree species can regenerate, providing an increased source of tree species.

The development of sustainable forestry practices, significantly lowering the current ecological footprint, is another recommendation from the new Forest Practice Model. Ecological footprint involves measuring the nature’s ability to support human demand, such as consumption and the economy. It measures the consumption rate and waste generation compared to the speed of nature can absorb the generated waste (GFN, 2020). It is crucial to reduce the Algonquin Provincial Park’s ecological footprint to balance the demand and supply (Sadeghi, Bulmer, Bridges, & Ding, 2015). For instance, in cases where the park’s consumption is 150%, which is plausible due to the economic values and benefits, it would mean we need earth and another half earth to sustain and maintain the ecological footprint. Therefore, sustainable forest practices must be adopted to reduce the ecological footprint and maintain a supply-demand equilibrium. The suggested methods include expanding protected zones and developing boundaries for logging and timber production. These practices will prevent the growth of commercial logging into new areas in the quest to preserve the native forest, protect flora and fauna, and contribute to the environmental well-being through sustainable development of natural resources. Native tree species that are threatened and endangered will be identified and replanted to boost biodiversity and ecological protection. Tree harvesting sites may reduce with the abandoned sites having biotransformation and regeneration. While expanding the park’s protected zones, the supply of wood is also considered (Sadeghi, Bulmer, Bridges, & Ding, 2015). Hence, in the expansion, old-growth forests should be considered, as the largest number has been logged and remain unprotected and endangered. Old-growth forests will boost ecological reproduction, preserve cultural heritage, and provide a continuous supply of wood and trees. Reducing commercial logging and defining the logging areas may negatively impact the logging companies since they wish to expand their logging areas. Expanding protected zones is advantageous to other stakeholders but limits logging companies, requiring a settlement, dialogue, or diplomacy in the consensus.

Finally, it is crucial that a universal policy and governance framework is introduced, with policy amendments and improvements to ensure all stakeholder values’ accomplishment without compromise or granting some stakeholders a higher bargaining position than others. When critically analyzing the existing governance framework, it presents a massive conflict and minimal policy consensus on the Algonquin Provincial Park’s purpose and value (Sadeghi, Bulmer, Bridges, & Ding, 2015). The presence being governed by diverse stakeholders shows diverse and possibly conflicting policies in its operating environment. The lack of annual public reports on the park’s management minimizes each stakeholder’s transparency and accountability while ensuring the promotion of cultural heritage and traditions in the park management and encouraging forest practices in the forest’s biodiversity while maintaining the economic value of trees and wood supply. The lack of transparency communicates an imbalance in the bargaining positions and power among stakeholders. Hence, the presence of minimal protection of fauna and flora in the park, with increased ecological degradation, development of forest policies that do not focus on maintaining the preservation and protection of the environment rather encouraging harmful forestry practices. Besides, when local community members are excluded in decision-making, it means prioritizing other influential stakeholders, especially those that view the Algonquin Provincial Park in an economic lens, thus, prioritizing the monetary value benefits over the cultural value and ecological well-being (Sadeghi, Bulmer, Bridges, & Ding, 2015). A middle ground in policy amendments and development does not seek to disadvantage one group and benefit another. Instead, it aims to find a rational assessment of the situation and develop the most appropriate governance framework and policy that considers and attains all the diverse self-interests. This will create a morally and conclusive policy, law, and regulations framework that benefits all stakeholders and places at heart the need to attain the primary goal of the Algonquin Provincial Park. “To protect the natural and cultural features of the main forest and nature, while continuously creating diversity opportunities and recreational services for the people through extensive wilderness and environmental experiences. To contribute to the environmental well-being through sustainable development of natural resources and the growth of the region’s cultural, social, and economic spheres of life.” (APF, 2020).

Conclusion

Algonquin Provincial Park is a valuable asset to many stakeholders, including Ontario’s governmental agencies, environmental officials, logging companies, the Park’s initial management, NGOs, and the local community for its rich ecological diversity source, cultural heritage, and economic value. However, a significant problem in the Park is the presence of diverse and distinct values, interests, and perceptions regarding the goal and purpose of the Algonquin Provincial Park. The stakeholders’ various values and perceptions present a conflict of interest and the primary problem the Algonquin Provincial Park faces. The conflicting interests have resulted in minimal protection of fauna and flora in the Park, with increased ecological degradation and forest policies that do not focus on maintaining the preservation and protection of the environment rather, encouraging harmful forestry practices. In addressing the problem, the proposed solution and recommendations are borrowed from the Hobbesian contractarianism perspective and theory, which is the introduction of a new Forest Practice Model. It provides a middle ground and rational strategy that covers, addresses, and satisfies all the Algonquin Provincial Park’s stakeholders’ interests and benefits. The model acts as a guiding course of action for consideration and ratification.

The new Forest Practice Model is a comprehensive framework aiming at lowering the ecological degradation practices and spillover effects from the conflicting stakeholder interests and the adverse effects of commercial logging and forest harvesting in with Algonquin Provincial Park. The proposed and recommended solutions ensure the rebirth and increased protection of the Park’s biodiversity and traditional lands of the local communities, considering all stakeholders’ economic values, needs, and interests. The model creates a common ground and balance of the Park’s integrity, cultural conservation, and economic value. The model and framework’s key aspects include strategies on useful and careful logging, rehabilitation and regeneration strategies for endangered species and abandoned logging roads, and development of sustainable forestry practices, significantly lowering the current ecological footprint. Moreover, it proposes policy amendments and improvements to ensure the accomplishment of all stakeholder values without compromise or granting some stakeholders a higher bargaining position than others do.

 

 

References

APF. (2020). Algonquin Park Forest 2021-2031 Forest Management Plan: Review of Long-Term Management Direction. Retrieved from Forest Management in Algonquin Park: http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/visit/park_management/forest-management.php

GFN. (2020). Ecological Footprint. Retrieved from Global Footprint Network: https://www.footprintnetwork.org/our-work/ecological-footprint/

Kryzanowski, T. (2015, March/April). CAREFUL LOGGING IN ALGONQUIN PARK. Retrieved from Logging and Sawmilling Journal: https://forestnet.com/LSJissues/2015_March_April/careful.php

Sadeghi, S., Bulmer, A., Bridges, K., & Ding, M. (2015). Logging of Algonquin Provincial Park. Student Research on Environment and Sustainability Issues, https://environment.geog.ubc.ca/logging-of-algonquin-provincial-park/.

 

 

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