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Canadian Biodiversity Strategy

GOAL 2 - Ecological Management

C. Monitoring

Monitoring programs are required to detect and measure changes in biodiversity, to better understand functional linkages in ecosystems, and to evaluate the success or failure of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use policies and programs.


Article 7:

Monitor, through sampling and other techniques, the components of biodiversity... paying particular attention to those requiring urgent conservation measures and those which offer the greatest potential for sustainable use.Identify processes and categories of activities which have or are likely to have significant adverse impacts on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and monitor their effects through sampling and other techniques.

Convention on Biological Diversity

There are currently many monitoring programs underway, including programs that monitor water and air quality, wildlife population and species trends, climate, disease outbreaks, fire and successions. Monitoring is conducted by government and non-government agencies, often independently of each other.

Instances in which species and ecosystems are significantly affected by human activities are on the rise. For example, industrial and domestic acid emissions have increased atmospheric acidity, which, through deposition, has affected the acidity of thousands of water bodies and altered the habitat of many aquatic species. Effective monitoring programs must be integrated and ecologically-based in order to determine and implement appropriate management practices.

Strategic Directions:


Develop and implement monitoring programs to:

  1. better understand the functional linkages in ecosystems;
  2. evaluate the success or failure of conservation and sustainable use policies and programs; and
  3. better integrate the monitoring of biological and non-biological parameters.


Develop and use biodiversity indicators that are meaningful, scientifically defensible, practical and compatible with regional, provincial, territorial, national and international programs.

Everyone can help conserve biodiversity

Biologists are worried that populations of frogs and toads may be declining because of human activities. Volunteers across Ontario are listening to frog calls each night, identifying the species and recording the time, air and water temperature, and weather. These records will help biologists monitor populations and determine what actions are necessary to conserve them.

Identify appropriate locations to establish base monitoring sites.
Target monitoring programs on ecosystems, species and populations that are currently under the most stress.
Develop and implement measures to monitor the ex situ collection of biological resources.
Use volunteers in monitoring programs where appropriate and practical.