Analysis of impervious surface area, and the impacts on soil-based agriculture and the hydrological cycle

Analysis of impervious surface area, and the impacts on soil-based agriculture and the hydrological cycle

A case study in the Agricultural Land Reserve in Metro Vancouver, BC, Canada

Ashley Rose, MLWS 2016

The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) was originally established with the goal of protecting prime agricultural soils from being lost to urbanization and other development in the province of British Columbia. However, there are a wide array of activities that are permitted in the ALR such as the construction of greenhouses, crop and dairy barns, estate-sized homes, roads, and commercial facilities that permanently seal the soil with impervious surfaces and take the soil out of production.

The objective of this study was to estimate the extent of impervious surface area in the Metro Vancouver ALR in order to analyze the impacts on the hydrologic cycle and to quantify the amount of arable agricultural land that is taken out of production, based on the Soil Capability for Agriculture classification. The information in this report is useful in developing watershed protection strategies and assisting policy makers in making land use decisions to protect the long term integrity of the ALR and soil-based agriculture.

View the article in the Agricultural Sciences journal