... Ever since the new thrust towards northern development began in 1954 with the creation of the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources, a ding-dong battle has been fought in Canada over the "right" way to develop the North. For a long time, it seemed, development was just a matter of mines and roads, of building schools and educating the native peoples. But over the past few years the process of northern development has become highly politicized. The North has become the ground upon which a number of national conflicts are being fought out: conservationists against developers, modernists against traditionalists, humanists against technocrats, evolutionaries against revolutionaries. The bright promise and the messy reality are paraded side by side for all to see. From an objective standpoint, there seems to be some great split here in Canadians' view of the North. What is wrong in the North? Why do great dreams and ideals keep crashing to the ground? Why are attempts to "help the native peoples" continually being frustrated? The following two recent Canadian publications help to answer these questions . Both books clearly indicate the alternatives open for the future development of the North. A History of the Original Peoples of Northern Canada is written from the inside. It documents the integrity of the traditional way of life in the North without romanticizing it and shows how cooperation among people in the North, and between northerners and southerners, occurred in the past. It also tells of the terrible impact of the contact between cultures. It is wise and gentle in tone and has an air of patient explanation about it. The Genocide Machine in Canada is a muckraking account of northern development that accuses the Canadian government of plotting genocide in northern Canada - by which seems to be meant the destruction of the way of life of the indigenous peoples. It is a devastating attack upon existing assumptions about the North and the values of the decision makers, and is angry and ideological in tone. The Crowe book arose out of the Man in North project of the Arctic Institute of North America. That of Davis and Zannis criticizes the Institute, while acknowledging extensive use of its excellent library. Basically, the two books present two contrasting views. Crowe's book is informed; that of Davis and Zannis is opinions. Coming from such different directions, both books reach essentially the same conclusions - that the North and its peoples will have to be approached in a different way in the future, and that northern development is basically a problem of southern attitudes. These two writers have hit upon a fundamental truth about the North that explains a lot of what is going wrong in the region. The North has been treated as a colonial area where there is "control by one power over a dependent area or people." In such a situation, dependency is created by the colonists, who are the givers of all goods, the source of all benefits. And this encourages manipulation by the colonized, who soon learn how to put the squeeze on their colonial masters. The result is that everyone has to take sides. One thing is certain. The future of the North cannot be merely a continuation of the past. Somewhere there has to be a qualitative change in the Canadian approach to the North. And that means that people have to change their minds about the causes of the problems of the North. There are not going to be any easy solutions to the problems of northern development, because development is a process, not a product. And a process implies continuous change, adaptation, movement. The books clearly present the choice ahead in the Canadian North - between confrontation and co-operation.
Field and laboratory studies of the behavior of isothermal and hot oil spills on snow are described. Alberta crude oil spilled at 0° C is readily absorbed by snow and contaminates an area of about 0.01 square metres per litre. A hot oil spill melts a channel in the snow and flows along the ground under the snow contaminating an area of about 0.024 square metres per litre. There may be considerable spreading of the oil during thaw. The flow regimes by which oil permeates into snow and the clean-up implications are discussed.
While Eskimos of Nunivak Island, Alaska, still engage in traditional subsistence activities, they require an adequate cash income in order to acquire and maintain the equipment needed for such activities. In this paper traditional subsistence modes are examined as well as the economic opportunities that permit the Nunivagamiut to maintain them. The use of imported food in part reflects the degree to which a family is unable to participate in its traditional culture. It is indicated that at least part of this inability is of an economic nature.
Nearly all of the medium- and fine-textured surficial materials are permanently frozen within one metre of the surface and have a hummocky micro-relief. Indications of physical disturbance due to cryogenic processes are ubiquitous, and organic matter distributions ranges from incorporated, relatively undecomposed material to mobile organic acids. On the other hand, well-drained coarse-textured materials have no permafrost and are characterized by Brunisolic soil development. Profile descriptions and characterizing analyses are discussed with respect to cryogenic soil-forming processes and soil classification. The suggestion is made that there is a need for re-evaluation of traditional concepts of soil development when dealing with permafrost soils of the Subarctic.
Trails left by caribou on their spring, summer and fall ranges persist for many years and therefore provide useful record of patterns of caribou movement. Trails covering 15,000 km² of northeastern Alaska were mapped from light aircraft, and found to correspond with present patterns of movement of the Porcupine caribou herd. Caribou follow contours in hilly terrain; use gentle slopes and passes; travel in narrower lanes in steep areas; course natural obstacles before crossing them; and follow previous caribou trails. Areas of special importance to caribou because of funneling of their movements are identifiable from trail maps, which are therefore useful tools in the planning of proposed structures in caribou ranges.
A preliminary palynological study of the Healy Lake area in east-central Alaska is reported upon. Interpretations extend to 4,600 radiocarbon years BP. With the minor exception of pine, pollen profiles show no trends that can be interpreted as environmentally-induced departures from modern conditions, percentages at depth being similar to those for surface samples. Therefore it is tentatively concluded that no major changes in vegetation occurred in conjunction with late Thermal Maximum and Neoglacial climatic changes. There is some indication that lodgepole pine has migrated towards the area from the southeast during the Holocene.
The present authors have observed during several summer seasons disturbance-induced succession on the Truelove Lowland of Devon Island (76 N) in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. In this paper are presented the results of observations of the successional response of three vascular plant species on polar desert microenvironments subjected to vehicle disturbance. The study area is a post-Pleistocene strand flat on the northeast coast of Devon Island. A pronounced series of raised beaches are in evidence from the present coastline inland to the upper marine limit. These relict beaches provide microsites of polar desert conditions in the midst of a landscape dominated chiefly by hydric tundra meadows. As such they represent the xeric portion of a typical arctic "mesotopographic gradient" . The present writers interpret the plant communities established on these sites to be in equilibrium with the present environment and thus represent climax plant communities. The values for total plant cover on the vehicle-disturbed pavement are, not unexpectedly, drastically reduced. More interesting, however, are comparisons of the three species in recolonization. The two species found most commonly in undisturbed communities show quite distinctive responses following disturbance. Saxifraga oppositifolia seedlings yielded counts similar to those for undisturbed terrain. Further, in the majority of quadrats on disturbed areas Minuartia rubella was now the major contributor to the total vascular plant cover. Saxifraga oppositifola while prominent numerically was represented chiefly by smaller seedlings and thus contributed substantially less to cover values. Similar results were also obtained on small quadrats artificially denuded of all vegetation in 1969 . Counts of individuals on four quadrants showed the presence of a number of invading Minuartia rubella seedlings and occasional Saxifraga oppositifolia, but after four years all plots still lacked Dryas integrifolia. Observations made during the present study indicate that, for these habitats at least, important shifts in the numerical relationships between species occur following vehicle disturbance (and subsequent reduction in community diversity). The sharp increases in populations of Minuartia rubella and the distinctive recolonization rates of Saxifraga oppositifolia and Dryas integrifolia populations may be easily viewed as disturbance-induced succession. The causal reasons for these population responses are not known. All three species appear to produce substantial amounts of seed in the field. These observations do serve to emphasize, however, that our present understanding of the population dynamics of Arctic tundra plants may be inadequate for predictive purposes. It is unlikely, for example, that in selecting native plants for restoring vegetation on disturbed xeric tundra Minuartia rubella would have been favoured over Dryas integrifolia if we were to rely solely on our observations of the two species in undisturbed communities. The study of responses of vegetation to current land manipulations in the Arctic may provide valuable clues to the understanding of the successional process in this region. It is the authors' belief that existing data on succession in tundra in the High Arctic are inadequate for the long-range planning of land use in many tundra habitats, and that greater emphasis should be directed towards this problem in the future.
Sensitivity of surface materials and vegetation to disturbance in the Queen Elizabeth Islands : an approach and commentary
Arctic, v. 28, no. 1, Mar. 1975, p. 74-76
ASTIS record 10293
Concern about potential and actual disturbance of surface materials, vegetation and wildlife of the Queen Elizabeth Islands has risen sharply in the last few years. The purpose of this paper is to outline an approach to the problem, based on terrain studies, and to offer a commentary on the recent paper by T.A. Babb and L.C. Bliss in Arctic. For a rational assessment of the problem, information is required on: a) surface materials - ice content, texture, engineering properties; b) topography and landforms; c) geomorphic processes; d) drainage - seasonal change and single events; e) vegetation - percentage cover and composition by species; f) summer temperatures, and moisture balance in soil; g) wildlife. Surface materials are very significant elements of the terrain, especially when potential for disturbance is being considered. Hence, surface materials are used by the present writers as a nucleus around which other elements of the terrain are grouped. Two of the present writers undertook in 1972 an exercise in the mapping of sensitivity at a scale of 1:500,000 of the Queen Elizabeth Islands, based primarily on bedrock maps and extensive personal communications, but found it unsatisfactory because the degree of detail was insufficient to reflect the variability in the sensitivity of the terrain. [In evaluating the paper by Babb and Bliss, the present authors conclude that]: The overall objective of these authors in emphasizing the "susceptibility of the soils and vegetation to surface disturbance" is good. However the methods used to achieve this objective are inconsistent, and in several cases the results are inaccurate. A serious deficiency is that the criteria for determining categories of "susceptibility" are obscure. The "Polar Desert" category is described as an area with 10% or less plant cover, low susceptibility to disturbance and low ground ice content. One interpretation of this seems to be that poorly-vegetated areas are less susceptible to disturbance of vegetation than are more densely vegetated areas. Only in so far as a low plant density lessens the probability of direct impact of vehicles on plants is this interpretation obviously true. A sparsely vegetated area may be an important, or even critical, range for ungulates; therefore the effect of disturbance of it could be great. The type of vegetation - such as willow, sedge, saxifrage, grass or bryophyte - is a vital consideration. An alternative interpretation is that unvegetated areas (90% of the Polar Desert category, classed as "soils") have a low sensitivity to surface disturbance. This is not true for some major areas of both eastern Melville Island and Western Ellesmere Island where highly sensitive surfaces, almost devoid of vegetation, are subject to extensive slope failure or thermokarst development, even without disturbance. Where the authors have left their major field of expertise and have commented on geology and geomorphology, weaknesses are evident. They appear to draw a direct relationship between active-layer soil moisture and "susceptibility". For overland travel this is generally true, but if excavation penetrates the shallow active layer and the frost table, then the relationship certainly no longer holds. Furthermore, the implication of a relationship between susceptibility, ice content and vegetation cover is simplistic and can be misleading. The assertion that "10% or more vegetation cover indicates the existence of sufficient moisture for the segregation of horizontal ice layers" is without basis. The present writers have drilled over 300 shallow (1-6 m) holes in eastern Melville Island and western Ellesmere Island to evaluate ice content and have found the relationship between vegetation, ground ice and materials to be complex.
Researchers are braving the Yukon ever earlier in the season for the Icefield Ranges Research Project (IRRP). The first group arrived at the IRRP Kluane Lake base camp (61 N, 138 W) on 15 April 1974 and the last group did not leave until 15 October. The winters of 1974 and 1975 mark the first occasion of the base camp being open year-round for two consecutive years. This innovation made possible as a result of the appointment of Mr. and Mrs. A. Williams as a resident camp-management team, is necessary scientifically because certain meteorological projects have to be conducted on a twelve-month basis, as discussed below. One hundred and four researchers and their assistants, representing nearly twenty universities, government agencies and institutions, made use of the IRRP facilities, and approximately 3,300 man-days of accommodation and subsistence were recorded. A number of improvements were made to the physical facilities; a new 24 ft x 12 ft (7.3 m x 3.7 m) utility building is now under construction, and two small trailer units have been installed by the group from the University of British Columbia as additional laboratory space for animal behavioural studies. The two ski-wheel-equipped Helio Courier aircraft of the Arctic Institute of North America performed a total of 173 hours of project-support flying, and in addition twenty hours of time of a Jet Ranger and a Hughes 400 helicopter was chartered. One of the Institute's aircraft, which was on lease to Trans North Turbo Air Limited and was engaged in commercial and tourist operations, suffered a minor accident during the field season. The largest aircraft ever to land at the base camp, a Canadian Forces Hercules transport, was used in support of the High Altitude Physiology Studies programme. ... Glacier survey project: In 1972 the Institute was awarded funds by the Glaciology Division, Department of the Environment, Ottawa, to undertake an inventory of glaciers in the St. Elias Mountains. This work was continued during 1974 by Messrs, S.G. Collins and R. Ragle. Work on the glacier basins of the Donjek River, Alsek River and Tatshenshini River was completed. To date more than 2,000 glacial features have been mapped and recorded. They concern glacier size, location and description. The Project is scheduled for completion in 1976. An extensive bibliography of the St. Elias Mountains is in preparation also and now contains more than 1,100 entries. Climatological projects: Under the direction of the Camp Manager, Mr. A. Williams, and Mr. R. Lenton of AINA, Montreal, and as part of a proposed long-range plan, two pilot climatological projects were initiated in 1974 on behalf of Environment Canada and Parks Canada. Standard and automatic stations were established in the Kluane National Park adjacent to the Slims River and at the 9,000 ft (2,700 m) Divide Station. The year-round meteorological project at Kluane Lake Base was continued in association with the Atmospheric Environment Service, Whitehorse, Y.T. ...
The many friends and colleagues of Dr. Thomson, former Director of the Canadian Meteorological Service and a Fellow of the Arctic Institute since 1954, will be saddened to hear of his death on 17 October 1974 in Toronto. He was 81. Andrew Thomson was born near Owen Sound, Ontario, on 18 May 1893. He graduated from the University of Toronto in 1915 in Honours Physics, and later earned a Master's degree from the same institution. In 1958, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in science by McGill University. Following a lengthy period abroad, during which time he worked with the Carnegie Institute in the United States, and in the South Pacific as director of the geophysical observatory at Apia in Western Samoa, Dr. Thomson returned to Canada in 1931. In January 1932, he was appointed head of the Physics Division of the Meteorological Service of Canada. Despite a reduced budget during the depression years, he was the prime organizer and promoter of Canadian participation in the second International Polar Year. He was also responsible for the organization of a post-graduate course in meteorology at the University of Toronto, which was given in cooperation with the Meteorological Service of Canada. Shortly after the outbreak of the war in 1939, the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan was conceived and Dr. Thomson became the main organizer and administrator of the extensive meteorological programme that was required. For his contributions to the war effort, Dr. Thomson was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1948. Following the war, Dr. Thomson undertook the reorganization of the Canadian Meteorological Service on to a peace-time basis. He was appointed Controller (later Director) of the Meteorological Service in 1946. In this capacity, he planned and supervised the installation of the Joint (U.S.-Canada) Arctic Weather Stations, and also promoted Canada's active participation in international meteorological affairs. By the time he retired in 1959, Dr. Thomson had presided over a rapid and remarkable period of growth for meteorology in Canada, one during which there were marked advances in climatology, forecasting, research, instrument design, and training methods. Dr. Thomson was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the Institute of Physics of Great Britain. He was also Vice-President of the American Meteorological Society and a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, of the Royal Canadian Institute and of the Washington Academy of Science. A pleasant, kindly man, Andrew Thomson was known for his quick mind and keen intelligence. A unique figure in Canadian meteorology for more than forty years, he was in many ways responsible for the stature the Meteorological Service has attained, both in government circles and in the public view.