Progress Report on Implementation of the Recommendations of the Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada's National Parks


Chapter 6. Tools for Understanding and Monitoring Ecological Integrity
Panel Recommendation Considerations Action
(6-1) We recommend that Parks Canada develop national guidelines for ecological inventories: inventories specifying the type, scale, resolution and frequency of the information required. All parks should then review their current inventories against these guidelines. Ecological inventories are currently developed by collecting existing data from other government departments, provincial and territorial governments and other sources. Additional inventory requirements are identified through the park management planning process. In general, resources for adequate ecological inventories are lacking. UNDER WAY - FUNDING. Parks Canada is currently preparing an Ecosystem Conservation Planning Guide to replace the existing Natural Resources Management Process (1984). The new guide will provide a systematic framework for the range of activities that comprise ecosystem conservation, including, in general terms, inventory requirements. It will become an annex to the Parks Canada Guide to Management Planning and, in the future, will be supplemented by more technical guides on specific subjects, such as inventories, as needs arise. The extent and timing of improving inventories across the system of national parks are subject to the availability of new funding.
(6-2) We recommend that Parks Canada incorporate the costs of developing an adequate ecological inventory as part of new park establishment. As a general rule, the average cost of an inventory will be approximately $250,000 per park to cover a basic inventory of vegetation, topography, linear features, invertebrates and vascular plants. There are currently 14 unrepresented natural regions and five northern parks with inadequate basic inventories. The total cost to complete a basic inventory of each of these (14 new parks and five existing northern parks) would be $4.75 million. In recent years, limited funds have been available for ecological inventories in new parks. Parks Canada's assessment of inventory costs for new parks, especially in the North, is higher than the estimate provided by the Panel. UNDER WAY - FUNDING. The cost of developing an adequate ecological inventory for new parks has been included in the implementation strategy that has been prepared for government consideration as part of the normal budget process. The extent and timing of improving inventories for recently established and new parks are subject to the availability of new funding.
(6-3) We recommend that Parks Canada establish an emerging issues research fund of $1 million per year to deal with threats to ecological integrity that occur outside the normal management planning and business planning cycles. The National Office should administer the fund, with proposals for access based on peer review and expressed emergency need. No such fund exists at this time. UNDER WAY - FUNDING. The requirement for an emerging issues research fund has been included in the implementation strategy that has been prepared for government consideration as part of the normal budget process. The creation of such a fund is subject to the availability of new funding.


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