Where It All Started
The Government of Alberta’s Land-use Framework (LUF) was designed to provide a coordinated process for decision makers to employ when developing a blueprint for land-use in Alberta. The LUF is intended to facilitate sustainable development and help achieve long-term economic, environmental and social goals. The Regional Plans have the potential to significantly impact economics and land-use within each LUF region. With this in mind, a consortium of companies together with the Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA) invested in an effort to proactively contribute to assessing land-use values within several of the LUF regions.
The Pilot Phase
The Land-use Social, Environmental, and Economic decision support system (LuSEE) was originally completed in 2011 as a pilot project for a subset of the Lower Peace Regional Planning (LPRP) area. Stakeholder data, knowledge and input was gathered and used to develop the LuSEE process and streamline the execution of this project.
Following the pilot project, LuSEE was expanded to analyze the entire LPRP area in a multi-stakeholder initiative involving partners from industry, government, and municipalities. Since then, LuSEE has seen interest grow and has been expanded to three additional areas, including the Upper Peace, Upper Athabasca, and the North Saskatchewan land-use planning regions. Stakeholder involvement in the project has also increased, LuSEE now has 14 active industry partners, along with funding support from FRIAA.
Why LuSEE Is a Success
LuSEE provides decision makers with key land-use data so they can make well-informed decisions for the good of all Albertans. By identifying areas of environmental value, management strategies can be implemented to minimize industrial impacts within these areas. Conversely, areas of high industrial value can be managed with economic goals as the main focus. Areas identified with overlapping values can receive the necessary attention to ensure that both the environmental and economic values are managed for. Ultimately, understanding the values that exist on the landscape and where those values are most highly concentrated, allows stakeholders to fully understand the trade-offs between different land-use strategies.