Renewable Resources Seminar Series

Our department regularly offers public seminars by scientists and policymakers, University of Alberta faculty members, and research collaborators, to showcase important topics of research, the diversity of our current research and show its linkage to management practices and policy.

RENR Departmental Seminar Series
Thursday, March 9, 2017.  12:30 – 1:30 PM
236 Earth Sciences Building

Seminar Title: Our Vital Soils in Space and Time: Advancing Knowledge that Applies for Sustainable Landscapes
Speaker: Guillermo Hernandez Ramirez
Abstract: Society anticipates scientists can support the development of sustainable systems that lead to long-term prosperity and welfare globally. Environmental change, food security and ecosystem integrity are crucial ongoing challenges that can in turn undermine accomplishing sustainability. To address these complex needs, we require new and validated knowledge of the underlying agroecological relationships and key processes mediated by soils across both spatial and temporal scales. Collaborative research focusing on carbon dynamics in temperate landscapes led to the understanding and quantification of organic matter turnover beneath shelterbelts. This study discovered turnover rates ranging from 0.016 to 0.025 years-1 as time since tree planting increased. Likewise, recent results from several thesis projects have greatly contributed to better understand greenhouse gas fluxes, soil quality indicators and spatial mapping of these attributes. For instance, while mapping carbon in grasslands and croplands at field scales, the uncertainty of model prediction decreased one order of magnitude and goodness-of-fit doubled due to the incorporation of selected terrain covariates in cokriging spatial models. A robust soil quality indicator – fractal aggregation – clearly documented the beneficial role of grasslands on enhancing soil functions relative to other major agro-ecosystems relevant to Alberta. On the other hand, in saturated-N cropland soils, peak nitrous oxide emissions shortly after snow melting accounted for two-thirds of the annual flux indicating the driving role of water. On mountain slopes and with escalating climate change, tree-alpine ecotone is shifting upwards. Preliminary emerging evidence substantiates that soil attributes such as local thermal boundary conditions and water availability could interplay a regulating role on vegetation establishment and migration. This may entail limitations for biodiversity conversation in these unique, hot spots mountain ecosystems. Overall, these several lines of inquiry and their associated findings have laid the foundations for new, promising research opportunities that can further expand and deepen our knowledge base of soils as well as underpin further development and optimization of management approaches towards sustainable landscapes.
RENR Departmental Seminar Series
Thursday, March 16, 2017.  12:30 – 1:30 PM
236 Earth Sciences Building

Seminar Title: High-Five! Alberta’s whitebark pine and limber pine recovery program
Speaker: Jodie Krakowski
Abstract: Whitebark pine and limber pine are endangered high-elevation five-needle pines whose ranges extend from the mountains of Alberta and BC into the continental USA. They provide diverse and valuable ecosystem services: wildlife habitat, treeline ecotone facilitation, hydrological control in headwater streams, slope stabilization, and scenic aesthetics. Four major threats have caused precipitous population decline: the introduced fungus that causes white pine blister rust, a lethal disease; mountain pine beetle; fire suppression; and climate change. Working with these species is a high-cost challenge because of their remote habitats, slow growth, and unique biology featuring symbiotic coevolution with the Clark’s nutcracker, on which they depend for dispersal and germination. Recovery plans identify a diverse suite of measures to mitigate each threat and restore viable, functioning high elevation five-needle pine ecosystems in impacted areas. Recovery actions underway demonstrate Alberta’s commitment to sustain these valuable and unique ecosystems for future generations. Partnering with other jurisdictions and agencies to share knowledge and resources is fundamental to success. Jodie Krakowski RPF RPBio has been obsessed with whitebark (and now limber) pine for about 20 years so far. Currently a geneticist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Forest Management Branch, after having been one with the BC Government, she was a consultant working around the Pacific Northwest, a terrestrial ecologist, tenures and stewardship forester, research scientist at UBC, green energy environmental coordinator, and other things that wouldn’t fit in this bio. Jodie is co-chair of the provincial whitebark and limber pine recovery implementation team, developing Best Management Practices for the High-Five Working Group for the Crown Managers Partnership, and a board member of the non-profit Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation of Canada.

Renewable Resources Seminar Series Fall/Winter 2016/2017

Thursdays 12:30-1:30, 236 Earth Sciences Building

Winter 2017
January 12 - Samuel Bartels
January 26 - David Olefeldt
February 2 - Raul de la Mata Pombo
February 9 - Jonathan Ruppert
February 16 - Vic Lieffers
March 9 - Guillermo Hernandez Ramirez
March 16 - Jodie Krakowski, Government of Alberta
March 23 - Peter Constable, University of Victoria
March 30 - Ellen Macdonald
April 6 - Stefan Schrieber
April 13 - Barb Thomas

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