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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

2010 State of Canada's Parks Report Released

Posted July 14, 2010 by LSC

Ottawa – The health of wildlife and biodiversity is uneven in Canada’s national and provincial parks, says a new report prepared by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS).

In some cases species are at risk of dying out and biodiversity is faltering because habitat has not been adequately protected. In others, good progress has been made to protect wildlife.

The review How is Wildlife Faring in Canada’s Parks? makes the case that parks are a cornerstone of Canada’s efforts to protect biodiversity – the variety of flora and fauna that make up an ecosystem. However, it notes that bigger, better managed parks, and more of them, are needed if parks are to fulfill their critical role in protecting Canada’s wildlife.

CPAWS prepared its third annual review of parks to mark Canada Parks Day, July 17. The organization focused on biodiversity this year because the United Nations has declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity.

“This report underscores that one of the best ways to protect biodiversity and wildlife is to strengthen our parks system,” says Éric Hébert-Daly, Executive Director of CPAWS.

Encouraging moves to protect biodiversity

The report praises government efforts over the past year to create new parks. Particularly noteworthy is the establishment of Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area off the coast of British Columbia

CPAWS also welcomes government decisions to create parks on Sable Island, Nova Scotia, and in the Mealy Mountains of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Mealy Mountains is exceptional because the park will protect most of the range of a threatened herd of woodland caribou.

Large parks protect species

There are 500 species in Canada at risk of extinction and more at-risk species are identified every year.

“In Canada we have one of the best opportunities left in the world to create big parks that can protect species that need large areas of wilderness to survive.—before those species get in trouble,” Mr. Hébert-Daly points out.

CPAWS prescribes a range of measures, including:

  • Creating new parks and expanding existing park boundaries;
  • Maintaining and restoring wildlife movement corridors (so that wildlife have the large ranges they often need);
  • Restricting roads and other damaging developments;
  • Limiting recreational activities; and
  • Practicing good park management focused on healthy ecosystems as a first priority.

Species struggle without adequate parks, good management

Among the good news stories highlighted in the report, where parks help protect vulnerable species, are the Ipswich savannah sparrow of Sable Island, the black dogfish of the Laurentian Channel of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the eastern wolf of Algonquin Park.

Sadly, some other species face an uncertain future. They include the little brown bat in the Fisher Bay area of Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba, the northern gannet, of Atlantic Canada, and New Brunswick’s American marten.

“In this International Year of Biodiversity, it is especially important that we focus on the role of Canada’s parks in keeping our wildlife healthy,” Mr. Hébert-Daly says.

Visit CPAWS website to download the full report and backgrounder.

For more information please contact:

Martha Plaine
Phone: 613–728-4754

Photos available upon request.

May 22 is International Day for Biodiversity

Posted May 17, 2010 by LSC

In 1993, the United Nations proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.

The theme of the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) in 2010 is Biodiversity for Development and Poverty Alleviation.

On May 22, organizations across the globe will be raising awareness about the importance of biodiversity to sustainable development and the attainment of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.

Learn more about The International Day for Biological Diversity.

Click here to find a list of IDB events happening near you.