Federal-Provincial Program to Inventory Protected Areas in Southern Quebec: An Extraordinary Advance Toward Knowledge of the Biodiversity Around Us

 

Abstract

Southern Quebec has a very rich biodiversity, but it is densely populated and its natural habitats are subject to many pressures. The objective of creating protected areas of various types is to protect the different ecosystems and make it possible to maintain healthy fauna and flora populations. It is surprising that our knowledge of the biodiversity of many of these areas is fragmentary and often focused on certain wildlife groups, such as waterfowl. A better understanding of the biodiversity of protected areas is essential. Achieving this goal will result in determining which species at risk are present, obtaining baseline data on them and establishing monitoring programs or other management measures to help maintain them, among other things.

For many years, the federal government (Environment and Climate Change Canada) and the provincial government (Faune Québec1) have shared common objectives with regard to acquiring knowledge about biodiversity and protecting species at risk. Given the complementarity of their objectives, the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment and Climate Change Canada and Faune Québec shared their expertise and set up a wildlife and flora inventory program in protected areas in southern Quebec. Each has benefited from the other’s expertise to carry out this major project, to improve and to develop its capacities.

Under this federal-provincial program, 24 areas covering a total of approximately 18,500 hectares were inventoried from 2004 to 2009. Some 553 species were identified, including 85 that are at risk. Nearly 24,000 observations were entered into various databases. The program has provided a wealth of information on our local biodiversity.

 

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1. “Faune Québec” refers to the names of the various departments that have succeeded each other over the years and to which the Quebec Government has mandated the conservation and development of wildlife and parks. The current Quebec departments are the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) and the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC).