The report looks at the health of landbirds across northern Alberta.
EDMONTON, September 26, 2012 – The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) released its latest report on the state of biodiversity in Alberta. The Status of Landbirds in Alberta’s Boreal Plains Ecozone – Preliminary Assessment 2012, reports on the status of common bird species that are monitored by the ABMI in Alberta’s Boreal Plains Ecozone (BPE). The BPE represents 58% of Alberta's total land area and covers a vast expanse of northern Alberta including the communities of High Level, Fort McMurray, Peace River, Grand Prairie, and Cold Lake, and extending south, past Rocky Mountain House. Alberta’s BPE is rich in natural resources; it serves as a working landscape for industry, and is considered an integral part of North America’s “bird nursery”.
The ABMI assessed the status of 74 landbird species in the Boreal Plains Ecozone and found them to be, on average, 80% intact. The report highlights the status of individual species and landbird groups such as neo-tropical migrants, forest interior specialists, winter residents and species at risk.
“Understanding the status of landbirds and their complex relationships with habitat are very important for industry as well as for all Albertans,” says Kirk Andries, ABMI’s Executive Director. “Landbirds are important to the health of our ecosystems as they contribute services such as pollination and insect pest control. These species rely on the vast and diverse habitat found throughout the boreal forest.
As of 2010, 21% of Alberta’s BPE has been directly altered by human activities including cultivation, forest harvesting, residential, commercial, energy, and transport infrastructure. Standing at 12%, agricultural cultivation represents the largest human footprint in Alberta’s BPE. Protected areas in Alberta include provincial and national parks and National Wildlife Areas and account for 11.3% of the BPE.
Alberta’s BPE encompasses nearly all of Canada’s oil sands which are one of the largest deposits of hydrocarbon in the world. The ABMI assessed the status of 74 common landbirds in Alberta’s oil sands region and found them to be, on average, 85% intact. This region currently has a lower human footprint than the entirety of Alberta’s BPE and, therefore, a slightly higher intactness for landbirds.
Finally, this report predicts the intactness of landbird species in every quarter section of land in Alberta’s BPE. These statistical models describe the relationship between land use, habitat and the relative abundance of the 74 individual landbird species. Over the next few years, the ABMI will broaden its assessment of landbirds and habitat in Alberta’s BPE to include trend reporting.
Rigorous monitoring provides decision makers with credible scientific data and information products for informed and timely decision making,” adds Andries. “The ABMI will continue to dedicate our efforts toward providing accurate and complete data on the status of biodiversity in Alberta.
About The ABMI
The ABMI is an independent organization that reports on Alberta’s ecological health. The only organization of its kind in North America, the ABMI conducts independent, science-based monitoring of the changing state of Alberta’s species, habitats, and ecosystems – the province’s ecological goods and services.
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