Terrestrial Studies 

HIGHWOOD's team of professional biologists and terrestrial ecologists are experienced in vegetation and wildlife surveys for parks and protected areas, oil and gas developments, restoration and reclamation projects and for site-specific environmental assessments. Our environmental professionals believe that appropriate management must include an understanding of the relationships between soil conditions, vegetation communities, wildlife and wildlife habitat, and the impacts of human use on terrestrial ecosystems.

Recent terrestrial biophysical work has been completed for national parks, oil and gas developments, pipeline construction, oil sands developments and wastewater treatment plant upgrades.

Highwood's Approach

At HIGHWOOD we focus on applying our core strengths to your requirements by providing

          Terrestrial ecological planning services tailored to individual project requirements
          Efficient collection of biophysical baseline data for terrestrial ecosystems
          Practical mitigations to reduce impacts on the terrestrial environment

Highwood's Services

HIGHWOOD provides support during project planning, implementation and monitoring activities related tothe terrestrial environment. Biophysical services include

          Vegetation Inventories
          Rare plant surveys
          Wildlife studies
          Monitoring programs
          Reclamation and restoration plans

Vegetation Inventories

HIGHWOOD's environmental scientists and ecologists have experience in conducting vegetation baseline inventories, range health assessments (carrying capacity, browse levels) and riparian health assessments. HIGHWOOD has assessed and mapped the ecological components of terrestrial ecosystems across western Canada. We choose mapping methods appropriate to the location and nature of the project, including Ecological Land Classification, Alberta Vegetation Inventory and GIS, to evaluate existing conditions and predict development impacts for environmental assessments. Recent projects have been completed for oil sands developments, municipalities and pipelines.

Rare Plant Surveys

HIGHWOOD's terrestrial ecologists have conducted rare plant surveys in prairie, aspen parkland, boreal and montane vegetation communities using approved methodologies. Herbarium collections are used to verify species identification based on collections, descriptions and/or photos. Recent surveys have been conducted for pipelines, oil sands development in wetland areas and alternative water storage options in upland areas.

Wildlife Studies

HIGHWOOD is experienced in conducting helicopter and ground-based wildlife surveys, including winter wildlife tracking, amphibian surveys, owl surveys and small mammal trapping. Our interdisciplinary team uses vegetation baseline information and knowledge of wildlife ecology to assess wildlife habitat suitability. Wildlife survey data and on-site incidentals are taken into account to determine indicator wildlife species for environmental impact assessments. Experience and knowledge of disturbances affecting wildlife allows HIGHWOOD to provide appropriate best management practices and mitigation measures for our clients. Recent projects include wildlife studies for pipeline projects and oil sands developments.

Monitoring Programs

HIGHWOOD has selected and monitored terrestrial environmental indicators to establish baseline conditions, and set future objectives and targets for corporations and government agencies. We have experience reporting on scientific monitoring results to the general public, and recently completed baseline vegetation monitoring studies for the Town of Banff's first State of the Environment Report.

Reclamation and Restoration Plans

HIGHWOOD prepares reclamation and restoration plans for decommissioned facilities and environmental assessments. Our knowledge of terrestrial ecology ensures that restoration activities are set in a trajectory that will lead to appropriate native vegetation communities. Reclamation or restoration planning provides target areas for rehabilitation, soil replacement volumes, suggested native vegetation species, and best management practices. Recent projects have been completed for decommissioned facilities in montane settings.