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Boreal Plains Ecozone+ evidence for key findings summary

This report is availbale in PDF format: Boreal Plains Ecozone+ evidence for key findings summary [PDF; 7.6 MB]

Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010

Evidence for Key Findings Summary Report No. 12 Published by the Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers

Cover photo

Boreal Plains Ecozone+ evidence for key findings summary.

Issued also in French under title:
Sommaire des éléments probants relativement aux constatations clés pour l'écozone+des plaines boréales.
Electronic monograph in PDF format.

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Cover photos: Aerial image of boreal plain, © Lorna Allen; Black spruce forest, © Lorna Allen

This report should be cited as:

ESTR Secretariat. 2014. Boreal Plains Ecozone+ evidence for key findings summary. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Evidence for Key Findings Summary Report No. 12. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. ix + 106 p. Technical Reports

Aussi disponible en français

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The Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers developed a Biodiversity Outcomes FrameworkReference 4 in 2006 to focus conservation and restoration actions under the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy.Reference 7 Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010Reference 8 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 ecozone+ Status and Trends Assessments). More than 500 experts participated in data analysis, writing, and review of these foundation documents. Summary reports were also prepared for each terrestrial ecozone+ to present the ecozone+-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)
Graphic showing types of ESTR Reports

This report, Boreal Plains Ecozone+ Evidence for Key Findings Summary, presents evidence from the Boreal Plains Ecozone+ related to the 22 national key findings and highlights important trends specific to this ecozone+. 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. 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 CanadaReference 9 , 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.Reference 10

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; Taiga Plains; 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 Diane Haughland and the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute for the preparation of various drafts of the report. This report was overseen and edited by Emily Gonzales and Debbie Martin. Kelly Badger was the lead graphics designer. Additional support was provided by Ellorie McKnight, Michelle Connolly and others. This report is based on the draft Boreal Plains Ecozone+ Status and Trends Assessment. 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.

Draft Boreal Plains Ecozone+ Status and Trends Assessment acknowledgements

Lead authors: D. Haughland and A. Lennie

Contributing authors, specific sections or topics:

Lake Winnipeg, MB case study: E. Shipley with consulting author: H. Kling
Non-native vascular plants: J. Herbers
Caribou: N. McCutchen
Protected areas: J.-F. Gobeil, R. Helie and R. Vanderkam

Authors of ESTR Thematic Technical Reports from which material is drawn:

Large-scale climate oscillations influencing Canada, 1900-2008: B. Bonsal and A. Shabbar
Trends in breeding waterfowl in Canada: M. Fast, B. Collins and M. Gendron
Trends in permafrost conditions and ecology in northern Canada: S. Smith
Woodland caribou, boreal population, trends in Canada: C. Callaghan, S. Virc and J. Duffe
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
Canadian climate trends, 1950–2007: X. Zhang, R. Brown, L. Vincent, W. Skinner, Y. Feng and E. Mekis
Trends in large fires in Canada, 1959–2007: C.C. Krezek-Hanes, F. Ahern, A. Cantin and M.D. Flannigan
Wildlife pathogens and diseases in Canada: F.A. Leighton. Contributors: I.K. Barker, D. Campbell, P.-Y. Daoust, Z. Lucus, J. Lumsden, D. Schock, H. Schwantje, K. Taylor, and G. Wobeser.
Landbird trends in Canada, 1968–2006: C. Downes, P. Blancher and B. Collins
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. Contributors: G. Beyersbergen, S. Boyd, A. Breault, P. Brousseau, S.G. Gilliland, B. Jobin, B. Johns, V. Johnston, S. Meyer, C. Pekarik, J. Rausch and S.I. Wilhelm.
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. Contributors: R.A. Curry, N. Glozier and D.L. Peters.

Review conducted by scientists and renewable resource and wildlife managers from relevant provincial and federal government agencies through a review process recommended by the ESTR Steering Committee. Additional reviews of specific sections were conducted by university researchers in their field of expertise at the request of the authors.

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. Hurlburt.

Figure 1. Overview map of the Boreal Plains Ecozone+.
Overview Map of Boreal Plains Ecozone+
Long description for Figure 1

This map shows the location of cities/towns and bodies of water referred to in this report. The ecozone+ encompasses a section of southern Manitoba, central Saskatchewan, central Alberta, and small section of northeastern British Columbia (British Columbia). Towns in British Columbia include Fort Saint John and Dawson Creek. In Alberta, the Peace River and Lake Athabasca delineate the northernmost section of the ecozone+. The southern edge of the boundary within Alberta runs just north of Grande Cache, Calgary and Edmonton. Whitecourt, Lesser Slave Lake, the Athabasca River, the Athabasca Oil Sands, and Fort McMurray fall within the ecozone+. The ecozone+ runs across central Saskatchewan north of Saskatoon, Regina, and Whitewood and includes the Saskatchewan River and the Porcupine Hills. In Manitoba, Lake Winnipegosis, the majority of Lake Manitoba, and Lake Winnipeg are located within the ecozone+. Selkirk is within the ecozone+ but the city of Winnipeg is not.

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Reference 4

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

Return to reference 4

Reference 7

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 reference 7

Reference 8

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 reference 8

Reference 9

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.

Return to reference 9

Reference 10

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 reference 10