Ecological Monitoring Program for National Wildlife Areas in Quebec

Volume 1 - Program Overview

Abstract

The purpose of ecological monitoring is to assess ecosystem components on a regular basis to detect changes that may be occurring, establish a diagnosis and take action to ensure the continuing integrity and viability of the ecosystems and their components. Most of the protected area networks in Canada have implemented ecological monitoring programs in recent years. Following their lead, the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment and Climate Change Canada – Quebec Region (CWS-QC) has developed an ecological monitoring program to monitor the state of the national wildlife areas (NWAs) in Quebec for which it is responsible, in order to protect their natural attributes.

First, a literature review and an analysis of the major existing ecological monitoring programs in North America, and more specifically those in place along the St. Lawrence River, were carried out to identify the key elements that should be included in the ecological monitoring program for national wildlife areas. A preliminary suite of ecological indicators and methodologies was then selected. The indicators were categorized according to four themes associated with the conservation of the national wildlife areas and the mandate of the Canadian Wildlife Service: Ecosystems, Pressures/Threats, Biotic Communities, and Species at Risk. 

Furthermore, to ensure coverage of the avifauna present in the national wildlife areas, indicators corresponding to the four bird groups defined by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI)—landbirds, waterfowl, waterbirds and shorebirds—were selected. Lastly, a workshop was held to discuss the selected indicators with experts from organizations that have developed ecological monitoring programs and to obtain their input and advice on the implementation of a monitoring program in the national wildlife areas.

The Ecological Monitoring Program for National Wildlife Areas in Quebec Volume 1 is the first of two reports on the development of a monitoring program for national wildlife areas in Quebec. This document describes the stages in the development of the program, the indicators selected and the methodologies proposed. This monitoring program will be refined over time as new information is gathered, particularly with regard to survey methodologies and protocols.

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