Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring

Biodiversity, also referred to as biological diversity, refers to the variety and abundance of species - from micro-organisms to moose - and the natural communities, ecosystems, and landscapes in which they occur. Nature and biodiversity provide life-sustaining services: clean water to drink, clean air to breathe, soil for agriculture, plants for medicines and much more. Biodiversity is also an indicator of how well land and water systems are functioning.

Al-Pac is a supporting member of the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, a registered not-for-profit, member-based organization dedicated to systematically measuring and reporting on changes in biodiversity, habitats and other environmental disturbances, either natural or man-made, across Alberta.

The ABMI uses a cumulative-effects monitoring approach to detect the ecological effects of environmental stresses on a broad suite of indicators. This is accomplished by sampling biodiversity, once every 5 years, at 1656 permanent sites distributed across Alberta. The ABMI program provides a consistent province-wide monitoring approach that reduces duplication, provides savings using a cost-shared operational model and ensures information is consistent and accessible. Monitoring results from the ABMI provide a scientifically credible means to evaluate status and trends in biodiversity, and insight into potential relationships between trends and underlying factors.

Monitoring confirms if management actions are effective and provides insight into changes that might be needed when desired outcomes are not attained. Al-Pac’s collaboration with the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) is one way the effects of the company’s operations on biodiversity are measured. Analysis of ABMI data allows us to determine if responses by natural indicators (fish, wildlife, water quality) are within the range of variability that exists in nature. Al-Pac's goal is to support the ABMI and maintain biodiversity on the forest management area through the implementation of an ecosystem-based management approach. More information on the ABMI is available at www.abmi.ca.

In 2009 preliminary findings of ABMI surveys in the Al-Pac FMA area are contained in the report, The Status of Biodiversity in Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries' Forest Management Agreement area: Preliminary Assessment. The report summarizes the status of old forest birds, winter-active mammals, non-native weeds and species at risk.

In 2016 the ABMI released a new report titled ‘The Status of Biodiversity in the Alberta-Pacific Forest Management Agreement Area: Five Year Update’. The study was among the first of its kind and provides valuable information on status and predicted trends in a broad suite of biodiversity elements. In addition it features a recent study supporting predictions that Al-Pac’s natural disturbance-inspired approach to forest management is on the right track in terms of accelerating convergence toward natural conditions following harvest. The ‘Five Year Update’ is available here.