Saturday, November 27, 2010

Roads Remove Forests

The Forest is Tenacious

Time will recover all
productive forest ground

When I was giving a tour to a group of students from southern Ontario we had a discussion around what removes forests from the natural life cycle.

Urbanization we decided was the one element that removed productive forest the most.

A side note of the conversation was they described a loss of agricultural land to urbanization. It had not occurred to them that agriculture had removed forests first. They had no idea or concept that all the farms were at one time a vast forest. Fields left long enough will easily revert back to forested land.

There is more non-productive forest in the walmart parking lot then all the crown land around Timmins.

Roads remove the forest from being productive for a very long time. I find it interesting to see the old highway 101 while traveling from Chapleau to Timmins. The hydro lines follow the old road so you see the lines disappearing into the bush and returning at another location.

It will be many years before the forest reclaims the ground a highway has been constructed.

How much area?
Lets say a lane with 4 meters wide. The MoT tells us there are 39000 lane kilometers in the province. 39000000 meters x 4meters = 156000000 meters square.

That is 15600 hectares.

MoT no longer leaves the black top when they move a highway. Only the gravel is left, the forest will be able to regenerate it much faster.

Picture 1 and 2 location
Picture 3 location
Picture 4 location

Provincial Highways Management

  • There are over 16,500 kilometres (39,000 lane km) of provincial highway. Placed end to end, Ontario's highways would span Canada twice.
  • The Ministry of Transportation manages 2,720 bridges and structures, 29 remote airports and either owns and operates or provides funding for nine ferry services.
  • Replacement value of Ontario's highways and bridges is approximately $57 billion.
  • Annually, $1.2 trillion worth of goods are transported in Ontario, $222 billion of which pass over international bridge crossings linked to provincial highways.
  • More than 90 per cent of all Ontarians reside within 10 km of the provincial highways. During the peak periods, about one third of the auto trips in Ontario use provincial highways.
  • Asphalt pavement lasts an average of about 15 years before it needs resurfacing, if it's properly maintained.
  • Bridges need to be thoroughly inspected every two years. Older bridges are generally rehabilitated every 20 to 30 years and completely replaced after 75 years. New bridges are designed to last at least 75 years without major rehabilitation.
  • There are more than 180 COMPASS cameras in the province.
From the Ministry of Transportation webpage