The Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers developed a Biodiversity Outcomes Framework in 20061 to focus conservation and restoration actions under the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy.2 Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, is a first report under this framework. It assesses progress towards the framework’s goal of “Healthy and Diverse Ecosystems” and the two desired conservation outcomes, i) productive, resilient, diverse ecosystems with the capacity to recover and adapt, and ii) damaged ecosystems restored. The results of this assessment will be used to inform the national biodiversity agenda, complement the focus on species, and help set biodiversity priorities.
This report was prepared under the guidance of a steering committee of federal, provincial, and territorial government representatives. Over 500 experts participated in the preparation of foundation technical reports (see Authors and Contributors). Twenty–two recurring key findings emerged from the technical information and are presented here, under four interrelated themes: biomes; human/ecosystem interactions; habitat, wildlife, and ecosystem processes; and science/policy interface.
2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity. It is the intention of the Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers to use this report as a partial assessment of Canada’s progress towards the United Nations biodiversity target “to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth.”3
Ecological Classification System – ecozones+
A slightly modified version of the Terrestrial Ecozones of Canada, described in the National Ecological Framework for Canada,4 provided the ecosystem–based units for this assessment. Modifications included: 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 the assessment to avoid confusion with the more familiar “ecozones” of the original framework.5
For more information, read the Executive summary, Key Findings at a Glance, or download the full report. The series of ecozone+–based and thematic technical reports that support the 22 key findings of the assessment will also be available soon.