The three major threats to diversity in Canada include; parks and protected areas, forests and the invasive alien species and species at risk. All these have been identified as the main factors that have a great impact on the sustainability of Canada’s biodiversity. Parks and protected areas are important in the ecosystem of Canada and have played a key role in protecting the country’s habitat (Bocking, 2000). They have also helped in the mitigation of the climatic impacts. The protected areas have created recreation and tourism opportunities as well as linking Canadians with nature.
According to the international union for the conservation of nature, protected area is defined as the defined geographical areas which have been set aside for management with an intention of achieving long-term objective of conserving nature. Most parts of Canada’s protected areas fall under IUCN category 1 and 2.These are strict protection, and ecosystem conservation and recreation respectively.
Canada uses a number of strategies towards its efforts of promoting sustainability and conservation of living, water, and land resources. Canada follows specific steps in working with stakeholders in ecosystem management (Chornesky & Randall, 2003). The first approach is the identification of the stakeholders which is based on the principle 1 and principle 12 of ecosystem management. The principles advocate for the involvement of the society in choosing an ecosystem and objects of managing the ecosystem.
The societal involvement also helps in acquiring the necessary skills for a project. The approach analysis the stakeholders and categorizing them according to their interest in the project. The primary stakeholders are the most affected and dependent on the resource while the secondary stakeholders are considered those with powerful voices but may not depend on the resource.
The next step would be to analyze to see if it meets the principle 7, 11 and 12.Principle 7 and 12 requires that the area is of appropriate scale and size, principle 11 states that the area must meet the scientific criteria. The last approach by the government is to establish a working relationship with the stakeholders and the area.
After the habitat loss, invasive species are the second noxious threats to ecosystem. These species are considered dangerous to the ecosystem because they lead to modification of the ecosystem. The invasive species would also compete for the available resource with the native species. The non-natives could also prey on the native species, hence creating an imbalance in the system. They could eat the plants in the ecosystem as well as introduce unknown pathogens to the system. When they cross-breed with the native species, the genetic diversity is lost.
In order to counter the effects of the non-native species, the government and other stakeholders work closely stop their spread. One of the approaches used is the creation of an effective mechanism to stop their introduction in an ecosystem. Another one is the creation of monitoring systems to detect the presence of a foreign body into a system and last, swift moves to eliminate the detected invaders. The success of these strategies depends on the strong government policies and legislations.
There are a number of reasons that makes some species prone to extinction than others. In Canada, there are features that make some species more vulnerable to extinction than others around them (Chornesky & Randall, 2003). These features include;
- Smaller population such as the Ethiopian Ibex
- Restricted source of food, for example, the Koala
- Low potential of reproduction such as the Cheetah
- Specialized habitat such as the Snowdon Lilly
- Dangerous and prominent predators such as the Tiger
- High toxin accumulation such as the Peregrine Falcon
- Long distance migration such as the Plain Zebras
The levels of classifications used in the protection of species internationally, nationally and provincially include; Terrestrial (international vegetation classification, U.S National classification, Canadian national vegetation classification and other regions); Coastal marine, and freshwater. Peregrine Falcon would have the following classification. It starts from Terrestrial-Canadian national vegetation-parks and protected areas (species at risk).
Ecosystem management is the conservation and restoration process of ecological services and natural resources while providing for the needs of the population and the future generations (Chornesky & Randall, 2003). Ecosystem management is important in biology diversity because it advocates for the maintenance and promotion of native species in an area. The authorities have the duty to properly manage those species that are used for commercial purposes and are endangered or threatened. Through ecosystem management, people learn that the management of public land should focus on protecting specified species whose existence could be threatened.
The five steps involved in the ecosystem management include the following (Grumbine, 1994);
- Determination of the stakeholders and definition of the ecosystem area: this step also involves the creation of a relationship with the stakeholders and the area. The challenge in this step is with the analysis of the stakeholders. Some stakeholders would want to be identified as the major benefactor of an ecosystem. When this does not happen, they refuse to cooperate with the authorities.
- Establishment of ecosystem function, structure, and management: characterization of the ecosystem and its function is the first step towards having mechanisms in place for the purposes of monitoring and managing the system (Bocking, 2000). This step could be too expensive as it demands a lot of time and resources. Management of the step needs skilled manpower which might not be available in the society.
- Investigating the economic issues in an ecosystem. Involves determining the economic impacts that would affect the system and all its habitats (Grumbine, 1994). The step could be challenging since the determination of the economic impact could not be established immediately. The changes in an ecosystem could be unpredictable at times leading to failure to reach the objectives of the project.
- Adaptive or adjustable management over space: this is the determination of the potential impact of the ecosystem on the surrounding ecosystems. The neighboring ecosystems have to be taken into considerations when initiating a project in eco-system (Grumbine, 1994). The problem comes when the initiative seems to have a negative effect on some of the ecosystems around the place.
- Adjustable management over time. The project must have a time in which it is expected to be finished. The main challenge is that some projects are not completed in time. The failures come from the various changes and challenges that a project may face. The time factor is critical but needs careful planning in order to complete on time.
Objectives for parks and protected areas include: 1) preservation of ecosystem, habitat, and species in undisturbed condition, 2) to ensure the establishment of ecological processes.
Objectives for forested ecosystems include 1) protection of the existing forests from human encroachment, 2) expansion of forest cover in the country.
The boreal populations and the woodland Caribou were listed as species at risk in 2003.The location of the woodlands is in the midst of the northward industrial expansion. The intense development in the adjacent provinces of British Columbia and Alberta threatens the future existence of the Caribou woodland and the Boreal populations.
The Boreal people have been left in the status of survival as the woodland has faced great invasions from outsiders (Chornesky & Randall, 2003). The Boreal depend on the woodlands for their survival. The woodland has favored the Boreal populations which are adapted to the life in the woodland. These animals are also at risk because of their specialized habitat. By listing the Boreal Caribou as threatened species, the government came to the rescue of the species.
There was a threat of habitat loss if the species are not protected from human and industrial invasions (Venter et al., 2006). The oil and gas sector were the most significant invaders. Fires and natural disturbance were other features that made the species listed as species at risk. Climate change was another feature because it led to the numerous fire incidents within the woodland. The fires burnt huge areas especially during seasons of prolonged drought
The Boreal woodland Caribou is mainly found in the provinces of Alberta and the British Columbia. Their status is not different from province to province because they are threatened in each province (Venter et al., 2006). The industrial expansion is from both the provinces hence the reason for their equal status. The population faces the same threats from all corners as both the provinces are involved in the massive industrial expansion.
It is estimated that the number of Boreal Caribous in Manitoba is around 2,481. For the population to be self-sustaining, it requires a total of 8 ranges. The current ranges in Manitoba are eleven and this means that without any disturbance, the population would be self-sustain. However, human disturbance is too high that the number of ranges disturbed means that the population would not be self-sustaining. Human disturbance would lead to the population shifting to another place or get killed by humans (Bocking, 2000).
Step one is about the societal involvement in the protection of the ecosystem. In Manitoba, the society could be involved by encouraging them to stop or reduce logging, minimize some activities such as road constructions in and around the forest. The government should also educate the aboriginal community on the importance of concerning the ecosystem and the species in it (Venter et al., 2006). When the community is actively involved in the conservation efforts, other stakeholders have an easier time carrying out their roles.
The description and application of the ecosystem structure must be done in a way that would promote the preservation and conservation of a particular ecosystem. For an ecosystem to be viable, the number of primary producers must be high than the number of other ecosystem features. When their number is high, the source of energy flow is established.
Competitors should be minimized to avoid depletion of the primary producers. The number of predators must be in line with the number of their prey (Bocking, 2000). If they prey on the competitors, they should be less than the competitors; the same applies to the predators of the primary producers.
Forestry and mining practices must be done carefully considering the preservation of such resources. They should benefit the current population but also last longer to benefit the future generations.
The roads and the hydro line must create a minimal disturbance as possible. If possible, they should be constructed far away from protected areas. Their constructions open up ecosystems for human and industrial disturbance Chornesky & Randall, 2003). This is dangerous because human beings could be predators hence interfering and creating an imbalance in the ecosystem.
Ecosystems are affected by seasonal factors. The seasonal changes lead to growth and flourishing of some vegetation while killing some vegetation. In animals, the changes may make them migrate to some areas hence leaving their present ecosystems. The movement leads to increased competitions in the new areas while reducing the completion in the original areas.
One the management objectives conserving woodland Caribou species is; to minimize migrations from Eastern to Northern Manitoba
Ecosystem management requires the collaboration of various sectors. The various knowledge systems are important in understanding many aspects of an ecosystem and how it operates. The various partners could be the sources of funds or skills needed to conserve an ecosystem.
The partners could also offer different forms of consultations to the managers of an ecosystem (Bocking, 2000). The management practices must be reviewed to establish the ones that are the most appropriate for any particular ecosystem. All these factors are important in ensuring a successful management plan.
The future threat to the Caribou population in Manitoba is the encroachment by humans and industries (Venter et al., 2006). The best way to address is through the strong emphasis on government policy and involving the local people in the conservation efforts.
Bocking, S. (2000). Biodiversity in Canada. Broadview Press.
Chornesky, E. A., & Randall, J. M. (2003). The threat of invasive alien species to biological diversity: setting a future course. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 67-76.
Grumbine, R. E. (1994). What is ecosystem management. Conservation biology, 8(1), 27-38.
Venter, O., Brodeur, N. N., Nemiroff, L., Belland, B., Dolinsek, I. J., & Grant, J. W. (2006). Threats to endangered species in Canada. Bioscience, 56(11), 903-910.