Canada's national parks provide a home for many plants and animals - from lilies to majestic forests, and from insects to grizzly bears. An important challenge for parks Canada is to know what plants and animals occur in a given park, what ecosystems they use, and how these species and ecosystems are changing over time.
Park inventories tell us what kind of plants and animals we have, and for some species, about how many we have. In the same way that animals and plants can be classified into species, park ecosystems can be classified into ecosystem types. For example, wetlands, forests, grasslands, and arctic tundra are examples of park ecosystem types that we can identify and inventory by mapping.
In addition to knowing how many kinds of plants, animals, and ecosystems we have, we also need to know how the number or health of park species or ecosystems are changing over time - this is the job of monitoring.