Healthy and sustainable societies are fundamentally and undeniably bound to the concept of “biodiversity.” Representing all living resources in Alberta, products of biodiversity include clean water and air, timber and crop production, recreational opportunities, and climate regulation. Biodiversity is a very broad concept that incorporates cumulative effects management, wildlife conservation, and ecological goods and services, among others. There is increasing awareness of a global incentive to conserve biodiversity, at the heart of which lies the fundamental intent of sustaining and ensuring the wellbeing of our environmental systems and the continuation of life on earth. At more local scales, achieving this collective goal requires predictable and scientifically credible monitoring to better understand the state of our ecosystems, our role as a society in maintaining biodiversity, and the consequences of action or non-action.
It is no accident that Alberta is at the forefront of biodiversity monitoring. The wealth of natural resources in our province, coupled with a favourable business environment, has attracted significant investment in the production of agricultural, forest, and energy products. With growing global demand, natural resources development will remain among Alberta’s most important economic priorities. We can also anticipate that new extractive activities will continue to emerge as technology is developed and matures. Thus, management challenges surrounding our limited land base will increase with each successive generation.
The ABMI's Work
The work of the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) serves to understand and help acknowledge the complexities associated with managing our diverse bionetworks. The ABMI manages and implements a science-based program that monitors and reports on biodiversity status and trends throughout Alberta. The mission of the ABMI is to support natural resource decision-making by providing relevant, timely and credible scientific knowledge on the state of Alberta’s environment.
The ABMI has been working for over a decade to make its important scientific data accessible and provide knowledge to key decision-makers in areas spanning government, non-profit, industry, and the private sector. The ABMI is also working to increase “bio-literacy” in the public who are the current and future stewards of our province.
The ABMI collects and distributes scientifically rigorous field, remotely sensed, and laboratory data. However, the value that the ABMI brings to stakeholders is fully realized by directly supporting the following kinds of initiatives using the best available scientific information:
A. Support for Public Policy
- Cumulative effects understanding
- Land-use planning
- Water, energy, agricultural, and climate change policy
B. Support for Stewardship Management & Reporting
- Provincial, regional and municipal stewardship reporting
- Status and trends monitoring
- Industry environmental certification standards
- Market-based instruments for conservation and stewardship
- Monitoring of ecological goods and services
C. Support for the Research Community
- Access to raw data
- Access to analysis tools
- Collaboration tools
- News and links to related academic and research institutions
D. Support for Public Awareness
- Environmental literacy campaigns
- Environmental interest stories (media)
- Government relations