ecological integrity what is it how do we measure it and why it is important
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Ecological Integrity : what is it? How do we measure it? And why it is important!. Nik Lopoukhine and Jeffrey Parish. A beyond borders presentation. Presentation outline. What compels us to measure, report and manage What is it that we need to measure for purposes of biodiversity conservation

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ecological integrity what is it how do we measure it and why it is important

Ecological Integrity : what is it? How do we measure it? And why it is important!

Nik Lopoukhine and Jeffrey Parish

A beyond borders presentation

presentation outline
Presentation outline
  • What compels us to measure, report and manage
  • What is it that we need to measure for purposes of biodiversity conservation
  • Review “Ecological integrity”
  • Concepts of goal setting
  • Objectives of seminar and how we will achieve these
park management realities
Park Management Realities




Edmonton, AB

pas the mine canaries of land seascapes
PAs - the Mine Canaries of land/seascapes
  • Protected Areas are embedded in their surrounding sea/landscapes – the greater ecosystem.
  • The state of a Protected Area is influenced by the condition of and thus the land/water use activities within that greater ecosystem.
  • Hence, the Protected Area is a barometer (the canary in the mine)of its greater ecosystem.
  • Hence,the value of measuring and reporting on the EI of a PA extends beyond park management interests.
institutional drivers and response
Institutional drivers and Response
  • Biodiversity Convention (SBSTTA, COP 7)
  • Other conventions (WHS, Ramsar) and protocols
  • Legislation and policies
  • Donors (GEF) results and indicators of such
  • Response:
    • Setting Goals, Objectives - criteria and indicators
    • Measurement and reporting of management effectiveness
biodiversity convention
Biodiversity Convention
  • The BDC Article 8 clauses c, e, f challenge
  • (c) Regulate or manage biological resources important for the conservation of biological diversity whether within or outside protected areas, with a view to ensuring their conservation and sustainable use;
  • (e) Promote environmentally sound and sustainable development in areas adjacent to protected areas with a view to furthering protection of these areas;
  • (f) Rehabilitate and restore degraded ecosystems and promote the recovery of threatened species, inter alia, through the development and implementation of plans or other management strategies;


biodiversity conservation
Biodiversity conservation
  • Increasingly, Ecological Integrity is becoming the focus of PA management where biodiversity conservation is a goal
  • e.g. Canada’s national parks have the maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity as a first priority in meeting its obligations of assuring unimpaired parks under the dedication clause that speaks to assuring enjoyment, benefits and education of present and future Canadians.
ecological principles to help us understand ei
Ecological principles to help us understand EI
  • Ecosystems are human constructs
  • Ecosystem based management or the Ecological Approach is also a societal choice or policy
  • Ecosystems are nevertheless describable or characterized because they do have organization, structure and definable trajectories over time
clues to understanding ecosystems
Clues to Understanding Ecosystems
  • There are clear patterns to how life works, but not all patterns are clear.
  • Ecosystems have interrelated structure, composition and function, at a range of scales.
  • Ecosystems are not stable or in balance, they are dynamic and changing. The constant is Change – and it is occurring at many scales.
  • System is greater than the sum of its parts
  • People are a part of the ecosystem
ecological integrity siry
Ecological Integrity (Siry)
  • Ecological integrityis understood as a series of interdependent ways of thinking and describing the world we observe. Thus an imaginative faculty is used for conceptualizing the physical and biological conditions of existence. (Siry’s Ecology Home Page)
ecological integrity epa
Ecological Integrity (EPA)
  • Ecological (or Biological) Integrity. The condition or "health" of an area, as defined by comparison of community structure and functions to those of unimpacted, least-impacted, or representative ("reference") areas.
  • (EPA, Bioindicators for Assessing Ecological Integrity of Prairie Wetlands Report # EPA/ 600/ R-96/ 082 September 1995)
ecological integrity maine audubon
Ecological Integrity (Maine Audubon)
  • Ecological Integrity is the ability of an ecosystem to support and maintain biological communities (assemblages of species) comparableto those found in unmanaged or relatively undisturbed habitats of the region. Ecological integrity includes both organisms as well as the physical elements of the ecosystem (soils, air, water, etc.) and ecological processes, such as forest succession and nutrient cycling within the forest.
ecological integrity bradford and maude
Ecological integrity (Bradford and Maude)
  • Ecological integrity, which includes hydrological integrity, means the condition of ecosystems in which,
  • (a) the structure, composition and function of the ecosystems are unimpaired by stresses from human activity,
  • (b) natural ecological processes are intact and self sustaining, and
  • (c) the ecosystems evolve naturally.
ecological integrity westra
Ecological Integrity (Westra)
  • In essence, it is an umbrella concept that includes the following components: the ecosystem must retain the ability to deal with outside interference and, if necessary, regenerate itself following upon it; the systems’ integrity reaches a peak when the optimum capacity for the greatest number of possible ongoing development options, within its time/location, is reached; and, lastly, it should retain the ability to continue its ongoing change and development, unconstrained by human interruptions, past or present. (Westra 1994).
ecological integrity from kay and regier
Ecological Integrity (from Kay and Regier)
  • Ecological integrity is about three facets of self-organization of ecological systems: (energy based)
  • a) current well being,
  • b) resiliency,
  • c) capacity to develop, regenerate and evolve.
ecological integrity
Ecological Integrity
  • Canada National Parks Act Definition
  • “ecological integrity” means, with respect to a park, a condition that is determined to be characteristic of its natural region and likely to persist, including abiotic components and the composition and abundance of native species and biological communities, rates of change and supporting processes.
key points
Key Points:
  • Keep all working parts – abiotic elements as much as the need to keep native species at viable population levels
  • Manage at the right scale - managing for integrity must consider the larger ecosystems of which they are part, and long time horizons
  • Maintain good vital signs - Ecosystems with integrity do not exhibit the trends associated with stressed ecosystem
  • .
setting goals and objectives
Setting goals and objectives
  • Park management Plan
goals objectives and indicators
Goals, objectives and indicators

Goals are defined as a set of future conditions that are relatively more general and broad based

Objectives are concrete expressions of the broader goals

Indicators are well defined (preferably numerically specific) targets for the goals

examples of goals
Examples of Goals
  • Maintain viable populations of all native species
  • Restore ecological processes, such as fire, that have been modified or eliminated from the ecosystem



T. Nudds

management is

to experiment as

policy is to


Adaptive management

key themes of today s workshop
Key Themes of today’s workshop
  • Importance of Ecological Integrity Measurement for Protected Area Management
  • Advances in tool development to facilitate measuring ecological outcomes
  • Challenges of limited data and resources
  • Experiences in measuring ecological integrity and using results for adaptive management.
  • Revised Agenda
  • Materials Available
  • Change of Rooms in the Afternoon … to 4-2
  • Question and Answer Panel