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Benchmark Report Released on Biodiversity in South Saskatchewan Region

Posted August 23, 2011 by LSC

EDMONTON, August 23, 2011 – The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) released its Core Report entitled “Status of Biodiversity in the South Saskatchewan Planning Region – Preliminary Assessment 2011” which serves as a benchmark for the environmental health of the region.

The report states that 49% of the South Saskatchewan Planning Region (SSPR) has been directly altered by human activities including agriculture, urbanization and energy operations. When considering only the Grassland Region of the SSPR, 57% of the landscape has been directly altered by human activities.

The report concludes that the overall status of native biodiversity is 54% in the Grassland Region of the SSPR. In addition, non-native weeds were found across 100% of the region.
“Biodiversity is fundamentally to the health of our economy, communities, and to the stewardship our environment,” says Kirk Andries, ABMI Executive Director. “This report sets the baseline health of living resources in one of the busiest regions in our province. These results will be used to support regional planning and resource management practices by tracking how the environment is changing in the decades to come.”

The SSPR represents 13% of Alberta’s land area and is home to 45% of the provincial population. This region is expected to continue experiencing significant agricultural, urban, and energy related land-use pressures in coming decades. As watershed and land-using planning continues to mature in Alberta, the status of biodiversity will be fundamental to setting regional ecological benchmarks and objectives, and to providing the foundation for evaluating the future outcomes of resource management across the province.

Over the next few years, the ABMI will broaden its assessment of biodiversity in the SSPR to include the status of mammals, wetlands, lichens, and mosses. With time, these same assessments will be available for all other land use planning regions as well as customized regions throughout the province.

“The work the ABMI is doing, and the scientific data we are collecting, will play a significant role as the province implements a cumulative effects approach to managing the environment and ecosystem,” adds Andries. “With this program Alberta can be proud that it is a global leader in monitoring environmental health.”

For more information about ABMI and to download the report and supporting documents visit the ABMI website.

Media inquiries can be directed to:
Jim Herbers
Director, Information Centre
Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute
Telephone: (780) 492–5766

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