Canada's National Parks Act stipulates that the protection of ecological integrity of Parks is one of the three founding building blocks of our mandate. Ecological integrity is generally defined as being the condition of an ecosystem that has not been altered by the result of human activities such as pollution, environment degradation or loss of native species.

In order to maintain the ecological integrity of an area, we must first know the health condition of that ecosystem. To do this, it is of the utmost importance to have long-term ecological integrity indicator monitoring programs. Ecological integrity indicators are animal or plant species or fundamental ecological processes that are measured over a long period of time so as to detect any changes in the ecosystem that could potentially threaten its integrity. The monitoring of the soft-Shell Clam population, bog vegetation and the dynamics of the barrier islands are just a few examples of ecological indicators used in Kouchibouguac National Park.

Ecological integrity indicator monitoring programs along with research studies on park ecosystems enables us to measure the ecological integrity of the Park's ecosystems. This will allow Park managers to make decisions based on scientific data, thus reducing and sometimes even eliminating human impacts on the ecosystem.

Monitoring program for ecological integrity at Kouchibouguac National Park

EI Indicator Project/
components Processes Biodiversity Stressor
Acadian forest Trees/Shrubs dominance, growth and condition Dominance, growth and condition of key species X X  
  Salamanders Abundance   X X
  Lichens Air quality index-diversity   X X
  Exotic Invasive Invasive Plant Index     X
  Climate   X    
Freshwater (Aquatic) Juvenile salmon productivity Productivity/abundance X   X
  Water Quality Water Quality Index X   X
  River otter Density   X X
  Benthic invertebrates Diversity/abundance   X X
Peatland Bog vegetation, water quantity & quality Vegetation diversity/ abundance, water wells X X  
Coastal (sand dune and bird dynamics) Barrier Islands dynamics Erosion rate/habitat change X    
  Red breasted merganser Abundance/productivity X X  
  Common tern population Abundance/productivity X X  
  Piping plover (SAR) Abundance/productivity X X X
(Estuaries) Estuarine Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) Abundance/diversity X X X
  Soft-shell clam Abundance/productivity X X X
(Salt marshes) Salt marsh productivity Accretion and productivity above and below ground X    

For further information on our monitoring programs and research studies, please contact the staff responsible for conservation of the Park's natural resources.