is used to gain an understanding of what is changing in the ecosystems
and why. By integrating long-term studies of species trends with
the abiotic data and land-use change information from the same
area, a more complete profile of an ecosystem
can be prepared, and evidence of change and/or condition documented.
This integrated information should be useful for policy making
with respect to natural resource management and the conservation
of biodiversity in Canada. (Roberts-Pichette,
As a crucial step to
protecting its native biodiversity, Canada needs to improve basic
inventory data at both species and ecosystem levels. Only approximately
50 percent of the species that are thought to exist in the country
have been identified.
The importance of biodiversity
monitoring is addressed in the Convention on Biological Diversity,
within the context of the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy, and
at length in the Biodiversity Science Assessment.
The Ecological Monitoring
and Assessment Network (EMAN), set up in 1994, is a network of over
and monitoring sites in Canada where long-term multidisciplinary research
is being carried out to determine how ecosystems are changing and why.
The network of sites is built upon already existing research sites and
is grouped by ecozone. EMAN arose out of a need for
Environment Canada to collaborate with other members of the environmental
science community in order to gather the kind of data required to protect
One of the major goals
of EMAN is to coordinate development of inventories and long-term
biodiversity monitoring at many locations across the country.
A second major goal is to develop Canadian standardized biodiversity
monitoring protocols for terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems.
These protocols are based on existing Canadian and international
methods. A description of the historical context and rationale
for development of these protocols is given in EMAN's document:
A Framework for Monitoring Biodiversity Change within the EMAN
in Canada (Roberts-Pichette,