Conserving ecological integrity

An ecosystem has ecological integrity when...

  • it has the living and non-living pieces expected in its natural region
  • its processes (the engines that make an ecosystem work; e.g. fire, flooding, predation) occur with the frequency and intensity expected in its natural region

Ecological integrity should be assessed using science and Indigenous knowledge. These perspectives allow a deeper understanding known as “two-eyed seeing.”

Parks Canada's objective is to allow people to enjoy national parks as special places without damaging their integrity.

Restoring ecological integrity

Protected areas rarely contain complete, unaltered ecosystems, particularly in densely populated southern regions.

The ecological integrity of protected areas, and thus their ability to conserve biodiversity and natural capital, faces a number of challenges including invasive species, habitat fragmentation, downstream effects of air and water pollution, and global climate change, all of which contribute to degradation of protected area ecosystems.

Ecological restoration provides a way of slowing, halting or reversing ecosystem degradation.