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Technical Thematic Report No. 11. - Western Interior Basin Ecozone+ Evidence for key findings summary

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Western Interior Basin Ecozone+ Evidence for key findings summary

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M. Fast, B. Collins and M. GendronFootnote a

Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010
Technical Thematic Report No. 11
Published by the Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Trends in breeding waterfowl in Canada.

Issued also in French under title:
Sommaire des éléments probants relativement aux constatations clés pour l'écozone+ du bassin
intérieur de l'Ouest.
Electronic monograph in PDF format.
ISBN 978-1-100-23417-5
Cat. no.: En14-43/0-11-2014E-PDF

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Commercial reproduction and distribution is prohibited except with written permission from the author. For more information, please contact Environment Canada's Inquiry Centre at
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ESTR Secretariat. 2014. Western Interior Basin Ecozone+ evidence for key findings summary. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Evidence for Key Findings Summary Report No.11. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. viii + 106 p.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2014
Aussi disponible en français

Footnotes - Document Information

Footnote a

All authors are with the Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada.

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The Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers developed a Biodiversity Outcomes Framework Footnote 1 in 2006 to focus conservation and restoration actions under the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy. Footnote 2 Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010 Footnote 3 was a first report under this framework. It presents 22 key findings that emerged from synthesis and analysis of background technical reports prepared on the status and trends for many cross-cutting national themes (the Technical Thematic Report Series) and for individual terrestrial and marine ecozones+ of Canada (the Ecozone+ Status and Trends Assessments). More than 500 experts participated in data analysis, writing, and review of these foundation documents. Summary reports were also prepared for each terrestrial ecozone+ to present the ecozone+-specific evidence related to each of the 22 national key findings (the Evidence for Key Findings Summary Report Series).

Together, the full complement of these products constitutes the 2010 Ecosystem Status and Trends Report (ESTR).


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This report, Western Interior Basin Ecozone+ Evidence for Key Findings Summary, presents evidence from the Western Interior Basin Ecozone+ related to the 22 national key findings and highlights important trends specific to this ecozone+. It is not a comprehensive assessment of all ecosystem-related information. The level of detail presented on each key finding varies and important issues or datasets may have been missed. Some emphasis has been placed on information from the national Technical Thematic Report Series. As in all ESTR products, the time frames over which trends are assessed vary – both because time frames that are meaningful for these diverse aspects of ecosystems vary and because the assessment is based on the best available information, which is over a range of time periods.

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Ecological Classification System – Ecozones+

A slightly modified version of the Terrestrial Ecozones of Canada, described in the National Ecological Framework for Canada Footnote 4, provided the ecosystem-based units for all reports related to this project. Modifications from the original framework include: adjustments to terrestrial boundaries to reflect improvements from ground-truthing exercises; the combination of three Arctic ecozones into one; the use of two ecoprovinces – Western Interior Basin and Newfoundland Boreal; the addition of nine marine ecosystem-based units; and, the addition of the Great Lakes as a unit. This modified classification system is referred to as "ecozones+" throughout these reports to avoid confusion with the more familiar "ecozones" of the original framework. Footnote 5 The boundary of the Western Interior Basin Ecozone+ is the same as the Southern Interior Ecoprovince of BC's Ecoregion Classification System. Footnote 6

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Long Description for Ecozones+ map of Canada

This map of Canada shows the ecological classification framework for the Ecosystem Status and Trends Report, named "ecozones+". This map shows the distribution of 15 terrestrial ecozones+ (Atlantic Maritime; Newfoundland Boreal; Taiga Shield; Mixedwood Plains; Boreal Shield; Hudson Plains; Prairies; Boreal Plains; Montane Cordillera; Western Interior Basin; Pacific Maritime; Boreal Cordillera; Taiga Cordillera; Taiga Plains; Arctic), two large lake ecozones+ (Great Lakes; Lake Winnipeg), and nine marine ecozones+ (North Coast and Hecate Strait; West Coast Vancouver Island; Strait of Georgia; Gulf of Maine and Scotian Shelf; Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence; Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves; Hudson Bay, James Bay and Fox Basin; Canadian Arctic Archipelago; Beaufort Sea).


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The ESTR Secretariat acknowledges Rowena Rae and Gregg Sheehy for the preparation of various drafts of the report. This report was overseen and edited by Trish Hayes and Emily Gonzales. Kelly Badger was the lead graphics designer. Additional support was provided by Jodi Frisk, Michelle Connolly, and others. It is based on the draft Western Interior Basin Ecozone+ Status and Trends Assessment. Other experts made significant contributions to that draft report and are listed below. Reviews were provided by scientists and resource managers from relevant provincial/territorial and federal government agencies. The Canadian Society of Ecology and Evolution also coordinated reviews with external experts.

Western Interior Basin Ecozone+ Draft Status and Trends Assessment Acknowledgements

Lead authors
D. Gayton, L. Harding, T. Hayes, R. Rae
Contributing authors
G. Kuzyk, K. Brock
Contributing authors, specific sections or topics
Wetlands: B. Harrison
Authors of ESTR Thematic Technical Reports from which material is drawn
Canadian climate trends, 1950-2007: X. Zhang, R. Brown, L. Vincent, W. Skinner, Y. Feng and E. Mekis
Trends in large fires in Canada, 1959-2007: C.C. Krezek-Hanes, F. Ahern, A. Cantin and M.D. Flannigan
Wildlife pathogens and diseases in Canada: F.A. Leighton. Contributors: I.K. Barker, D. Campbell, P.-Y. Daoust, Z. Lucus, J. Lumsden, D. Schock, H. Schwantje, K. Taylor, and G. Wobeser.
Landbird trends in Canada, 1968-2006: C. Downes, P. Blancher and B. Collins
Trends in wildlife habitat capacity on agricultural land in Canada, 1986-2006: S.K. Javorek and M.C. Grant.
Trends in residual soil nitrogen for agricultural land in Canada, 1981-2006: C.F. Drury, J.Y. Yang and R. De Jong.
Soil erosion on cropland: introduction and trends for Canada: B.G. McConkey, D.A. Lobb, S. Li, J.M.W. Black and P.M. Krug.
Monitoring biodiversity remotely: a selection of trends measured from satellite observations of
Canada: F. Ahern, J. Frisk, R. Latifovic and D. Pouliot
Inland colonial waterbird and marsh bird trends for Canada: D.V.C. Weseloh. Contributors: G.
Beyersbergen, S. Boyd, A. Breault, P. Brousseau, S.G. Gilliland, B. Jobin, B. Johns, V. Johnston, S.
Meyer, C. Pekarik, J. Rausch and S.I. Wilhelm.
Climate-driven trends in Canadian streamflow, 1961-2003: A. Cannon, T. Lai and P. Whitfield.
Biodiversity in Canadian lakes and rivers: W.A. Monk and D.J. Baird. Contributors: R.A. Curry, N. Glozier and D.L. Peters.

Review conducted by scientists and renewable resource and wildlife managers from provincial and federal government agencies through a review process administered by the ESTR Steering Committee.

Direction provided by the ESTR Steering Committee composed of representatives of federal, provincial and territorial agencies.

Editing, synthesis, technical contributions, maps and graphics, and report production by the ESTR Secretariat of Environment Canada.

Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge compiled from publicly available sources by Donna D. Hurlburt.

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Content Footnote

Footnote 1

Environment Canada. 2006. Biodiversity outcomes framework for Canada. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. 8 p.

Return to Footnote 1 référence

Footnote 2

Federal-Provincial-Territorial Biodiversity Working Group. 1995. Canadian biodiversity strategy: Canada's response to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Environment Canada, Biodiversity Convention Office. Hull, QC. 86 p.

Return to Footnote 2 référence

Footnote 3

Federal, Provincial and Territorial Governments of Canada. 2010. Canadian biodiversity strategy: ecosystem status and trends 2010. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. vi + 142 p.

Return to Footnote 3 référence

Footnote 4

Ecological Stratification Working Group. 1995. A national ecological framework for Canada. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Branch, Centre for Land and Biological Resources Research and Environment Canada, State of the Environment Directorate, Ecozone Analysis Branch. Ottawa, ON/Hull, QC. vii + 125 p.

Return to Footnote 4 référence

Footnote 5

Rankin, R., Austin, M. and Rice, J. 2011. Ecological classification system for the ecosystem status and trends report. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Technical Thematic Report No. 1. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. ii + 14 p.

Return to Footnote 5 référence

Footnote 6

BC Ministry of Environment. 2006. Ecoregion classification system [online]. British Columbia Ministry of Environment. (accessed 2 September, 2009).

Return to Footnote 6 référence