Wednesday, August 8, 2007: 8:00 PM-10:00 PM
B3&4, San Jose McEnery Convention Center
SS 30 - Biodiversity standards for agricultural lands in Canada
With the clear recognition of human impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services, academic scientists, governments, and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) have shown an increasing interest in monitoring changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services in response to land management practices (Kurtz et al. 2001, Jackson et al. 2005, Kremen and Ostfeld 2005, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005). As part of this trend, Environment Canada has been contracted by Agriculture Canada to develop a set of environmental standards for agricultural lands in Canada under the National Agri-Environmental Standards Initiative (NAESI). This initiative focuses on four themes (biodiversity, pesticides, water quality, and air quality), each addressed by separate working groups. The Biodiversity Working Group seeks to link actual ecosystem conditions with a suite of biodiversity indicators as a way to evaluate how different management scenarios will influence long-term sustainability for several biodiversity priorities. These priorities include: conserving the quality, quantity and configuration of habitats over the landscape in a manner that sustains ecosystem processes, viable populations of "representative species," species at risk, and "natural" species assemblages; maintaining ecosystem diversity (both type and form); maintaining ecosystem services, including those that benefit agriculture and the larger populace. To identify standards for the above priorities, Environment Canada developed a process for translating ecosystem and species objectives into quantifiable habitat-based standards. They have initiated pilot projects in several agricultural regions of Canada to test and refine this process for identifying biodiversity standards. This approach is based on current understanding of relationships between land management activities, habitat indices, indicator species, biological diversity and ecosystem functions/services. In the course of the pilot projects, they have identified a number of key scientific questions that need to be addressed to implement their strategy as robustly as possible. Because a cutting-edge monitoring program will inevitably bump into the current limits of scientific knowledge, this project offers unique opportunities to mix basic and applied ecological research in the context of land management and restoration. This session has two goals: 1) to present the NAESI process for standards development and measurement to the ecological community for critical feedback; and 2) to offer this project as an opportunity for basic ecological research with strong potential for real world effects on the conservation and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Organizer:Dave Hooper, Western Washington University
Co-organizers:Carolyn Callaghan, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ruth Waldick, National Wildlife Research Centre, Raven Rd.
Speaker:Ruth Waldick, National Wildlife Research Centre, Raven Rd.

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See more of The ESA/SER Joint Meeting (August 5 -- August 10, 2007)