Canadian Biodiversity Strategy
- Executive Summary
- Biodiversity: Our Living Legacy
- A Vision For Canada
- GOAL 1 - Conservation and Sustainable Use
- A. Wild Flora and Fauna and Other Wild Organisms
- B. Protected Areas
- C. Restoration and Rehabilitation
- D. Sustainable Use of Biological Resources
- E. Biosafety: Harmful Alien Organisms and Living Modified Organisms
- F. Atmosphere
- G. Human Population and Settlement
- GOAL 2 - Ecological Management
- A. Improving Our Ecological Management Capability
- B. Increasing Resource Management Capability
- C. Monitoring
- GOAL 3 - Education and Awareness
- GOAL 4 - Incentives and Legislation
- GOAL 5 - International Cooperation
- Indigenous Community Implementation
GOAL 2 - Ecological Management
A. Improving Our Ecological Management Capability
In order to develop an ecological approach to the management of resources, it is necessary to better understand ecosystems and to determine the impacts of human use of resources on biodiversity. An effective research agenda for biodiversity must be coordinated and prioritized.
Research can lead to new uses of biological resources, identify new opportunities for conservation incentives, and provide the basis for further economic diversification and investment.
- Focus research to improve policy development and to integrate multiple land and resource-use objectives, with emphasis on:
- increasing our understanding of the impacts of human use on ecosystems and biological resources;
- providing support for multi-disciplinary or system-based research that improves the integration of social, economic and environmental policies;
- developing methodologies that permit an improved valuation of biodiversity;
- developing and implementing issue identification measures and adaptive management techniques to enhance management performance; and
- developing and implementing conflict resolution models to resolve conflicts between various resource users.
- Focus research to increase our understanding of ecosystems and our ability to manage human use of ecosystems and resources by:
- examining the structure, function and composition of ecosystems, landscapes and waterscapes and the ecological services they provide;
- developing cost-effective biodiversity inventory and monitoring methods and programs, including rapid assessment procedures and biodiversity indicators , to detect and monitor changes to ecosystems, species and genetic diversity;
- evaluating and improving methodologies to determine sustainable resource use levels;
- improving in situ and ex situ conservation methods, especially to enhance the recovery or rehabilitation of populations, species or ecosystems that are at risk; and
- exploring new sustainable uses of biological resources for economic applications.
Many communities, families and individuals have accumulated traditional knowledge that is relevant to the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of biological resources. This knowledge may relate to harvesting resources, planting crops, using natural herbs and other material for medicinal purposes, and understanding changes that have occurred to local biological features and landscapes.
Traditional knowledge can provide an excellent basis for developing conservation and sustainable use policies and programs. All too often, however, traditional knowledge is inappropriately used or disregarded by policy-makers, scientists, resource planners and managers.
Occasionally the holders of traditional knowledge are reluctant to pass on information to individuals who are not members of their community. They may be concerned that this information will be used inappropriately or without their permission.
Inventories: Landscape, Species and Genetic Levels
Comprehensive and reliable biological inventories are a fundamental requirement for the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of biological resources. They provide the foundation for:
- determining the status of ecosystems, species and genetic resources;
- setting sustainable harvest rates for biological resources;
- conducting research;
- developing resource- and land-use plans; and
- assessing the impacts of resource management practices on ecosystems.
In Canada many kinds of biological inventories are conducted at the landscape and ecosystem levels. They are used to develop macro-scale policies and plans, regional land-use plans, forest management plans and frameworks for selecting protected areas.
Most of Canada's trees, flowering plants, mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians are relatively easy to observe and have, therefore, been discovered, named and classified. At the species level, many resource agencies have well developed inventories, especially for harvested species. Wildlife agencies routinely survey game species such as ducks, geese, deer and moose. Forest agencies inventory commercially valuable tree species. Species that have a potentially negative impact on commercial crops are also surveyed so that agencies and individuals can predict and prevent or reduce damage. However there are large gaps in our knowledge of organisms that are more difficult to observe and classify, such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, protists and insects. Scientists estimate that only 50 percent of Canada's species have been discovered, named and classified.
The genetic diversity of the Earth's flora and fauna is very poorly understood. Even within institutions such as gene banks, which were expressly established to conserve economically important genetic resources, the genetic diversity of these resources has hardly been studied.
Inventory work requires highly skilled and trained personnel. There is currently a shortage of taxonomists and biosystematists experts who identify and describe species. Moreover, very few university students are entering these fields, making it very difficult to replace retiring scientists.
Priorities need to be set to address gaps in our biological and biophysical data base. Landscape/waterscape-level inventories will be effective in supporting the development of land-use and resource management policies and plans, while more detailed inventories will be required to support more refined planning and site-specific developments. Inventories must be designed to achieve specified objectives.
Improve biophysical inventories at ecosystem, species and genetic levels by:
- developing and applying regionally integrated landscape-level classification systems for terrestrial, freshwater and marine areas to provide a framework for the collection of information and the management of resources;
- linking biological inventories and soil, climate and other surveys;
- conducting biological inventories, based upon jurisdictional priorities, that take into consideration vulnerable, threatened and endangered species and ecosystems, critical habitats, little-studied taxonomic groups, taxonomic groups of economic importance, areas of high diversity and areas where human development and disturbance are the most significant; and
- encouraging the use of innovative and traditional methods to increase knowledge about the diversity of micro-organisms, their functional roles in ecosystems, and their potential economic uses.
Enable agencies and individuals to conduct biological and biophysical inventories by:
- developing ways to collectively identify funding sources and determine priorities for inventories; and
- ensuring that there is sufficient expertise available to conduct inventory work, including taxonomists, biosystematists, parataxonomists, museum professionals, ecologists, geneticists and other experts.
Conservation Data Centres now exist in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
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