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Prairies Ecozone+ Evidence for Key Findings Summary

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Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010

Evidence for Key Findings Summary Report No. 4
Published by the Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers

Document Information

Cover photo

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Prairies Ecozone+ evidence for key findings summary.

Issued also in French under title:
Sommaire des éléments probants relativement aux constatations clés pour l'écozone+ des Prairies.
Electronic monograph in PDF format.
Cat. no.: En14-43/0-4-2014E-PDF
ISBN: 978-1-100-23608-7

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Cover photos: Prairie wheat field, © / tbob; Prairie potholes, © Ducks Unlimited Canada.

This report should be cited as:
ESTR Secretariat. 2014. Prairies Ecozone+ evidence for key findings summary. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Evidence for Key Findings Summary Report No. 4. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. ix + 115 p.

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

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The Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers developed a Biodiversity Outcomes Framew orkFootnote1 in 2006 to focus conservation and restoration actions under the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy.Footnote2 Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010Footnote3 was the 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 Ecozones+ Status and Trends Assessment Report Series). More than 500 experts participated in data analysis, writing, and review of these foundation documents. Summary reports were also prepared for each terrestrial ecozones+ to present the ecozones+-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).

2010 Ecosystem Status and Trends Report (ESTR)

This report, Prairies Ecozones+ Evidence for Key Findings Summary, presents evidence from the Prairies Ecozones+ Status and Trends AssessmentFootnote4 related to the 22 national key findings and highlights important trends specific to this ecozones+. 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. Although this is intended to be a comprehensive analysis, some issues may require further exploration. 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,Footnote5 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.Footnote6 The boundary for the Prairies is the same in both frameworks.

Ecological Classification System - Ecozones+
Long description for Ecological Classification System – Ecozones+

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; Prairies; 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 Trish Hayes, Melanie Dubois (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), and Jeff Thorpe (Saskachewan Research Council) for the preparation of various drafts of the report. This report was overseen and edited by Trish Hayes and Patrick Lilley. Kelly Badger was the lead graphics designer. Additional support was provided by Jodi Frisk, Ellorie McKnight, Michelle Connolly, and others. It is based on the draft Prairies Ecozone+ Status and Trends Assessment.4 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.

Prairies Ecozone+ Draft Status and Trends Assessment acknowledgements

Lead authors:
J. Thorpe and B. Godwin

Contributing authors:
T. Hayes, M. Dubois, J. Frisk

Contributing authors, specific sections or topics:
Wetlands: J. DeVries
Grassland birds: B. Dale
Ecosystem services case studies: S. Hay
Climate change: N. Henderson
Stewardship/Restoration/Conservation: J. Karst, S. Michalsky

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
Wildlife pathogens and diseases in Canada: F.A. Leighton
Trends in breeding waterfowl in Canada: M. Fast, B. Collins and M. Gendron
Landbird trends in Canada, 1968-2006: C. Downes, P. Blancher and B. Collins
Trends in Canadian shorebirds: C. Gratto-Trevor, R.I.G. Morrison, B. Collins, J. Rausch and V. Johnston
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
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

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. Additional reviews of specific sections were conducted by external experts in their field of expertise.

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 D.D. Hurlburt.

Figure 1. Overview map of the Prairies Ecozone+
Long description for Figure 1.

This map of the Prairies Ecozone+ shows the location of cities/towns and bodies of water which are referred to within this report. This ecozone+ encompasses southeastern Alberta, the southern half of Saskatchewan, and southwestern Manitoba. The ecozone+'s southern boundary is defined by the Canada–U.S. border. In Alberta, Edmonton is the northernmost city encompassed by the ecozone+ and is located in its northwestern corner. The cities of Red Deer and Calgary are located just within the ecozone+'s western edge. The southeastern part of the ecozone+ includes the Cypress Hills and the cities of Brooks, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge. In Saskatchewan, the northern boundary of the ecozone+ runs just north of the Saskatchewan River and the cities of Lloydminster, North Battleford, Saskatoon and Yorkton. Swift Current, Moose Jaw, and Regina are also found in the Saskatchewan portion of the ecozone+. In Manitoba, the ecozone+ boundary encompasses Lake Manitoba, the Assiniboine River, the Red River, Delta Marsh, and the cities of Portage la Prairie, Winnipeg, and Brandon, all located south of Lake Manitoba. Winnipeg is located within the eastern edge of the ecozone+, but Lakes Winnipegosis and Winnipeg are located north of the ecozone+'s northern boundary.

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Footnote 1

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

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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

Footnote 3

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

Return to footnote 3

Footnote 4

Thorpe, J. and B.Godwin. 2013. Prairies Ecozone+ status and trends assessment. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Technical Ecozone+ Report. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Draft report.

Return to footnote 4

Footnote 5

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. 

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Footnote 6

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 6