Ecological Health in the Crown of the Continent
CMP Vision: "An ecologically healthy Crown of the Continent ecosystem. We will collectively develop defined measures of ecological health and the adaptive capacity to meet them, across borders, amongst jurisdictions and with stakeholders by the end of the decade."
Land management agencies are often mandated through policies and legislation to maintain, preserve and restore healthy ecological systems. The term health or integrity refers to the desired state of the ecosystem that we are working to maintain or achieve. The desired state is context specific, meaning that physical, biological, social and cultural features of the ecosystem are evaluated for a defined landscape (Kay 1993). The CCE represents the headwaters of three major drainage basins in North America. Understanding the health of this system is significant as it has implications on the health of ecosystems further down stream across the North American Continent. Furthermore, the jurisdictional complexity in the CCE, has resulted in numerous independent initiatives and approaches to monitoring ecological health, yet many of the stresses and challenges facing the CCE are similar and likely will require coordination beyond jurisdictional boundaries. Land mangers would benefit from evaluating the condition and patterns of change at the CCE scale. The agencies within the CCE share a common desire for maintaining a healthy CCE.
Ecological Health Project
Given that climate change is a driver that affects all indicators, Strategy 4 of the CMP Strategic Plan, addresses climate change adaptation separately. The CMP is collaborating with university and agency partners on credible science-based approaches to identify the current condition of indicators (baseline) and to track and document changes over time (trend).
Our working assumption is that visible land use changes influence most indicators, so significant emphasis is placed on landscape metrics, augmented by supplemental work on individual indicators as required. To this end, the CMP is conducting a Landscape-Scale Assessment of Habitat Connectivity and Human Use Footprint at the scale of the CCE.
Managing for Ecological Health