A Comprehensive Monitoring System
The genesis of the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) as we know it today, arose out of a compelling need to monitor and understand how Alberta's rapidly changing landscapes affect our wildlife and habitats.
In the late 90s Alberta had legislation that required measurement of performance around various types of biota. However, the province needed a comprehensive system to actually do that.
Scientists and resources managers collectively acknowledged that Alberta urgently required an independent, broad-based and long-term monitoring program that accurately and consistently reported on the status of biodiversity. No small feat, but they were up for the challenge.
The program needed to be built from the ground up. It would require rigorous science, dedicated partners and a passionate team. Luckily, that is exactly what we have nurtured at the ABMI.
Strong Values in a Changing Climate
Our original vision for the ABMI was one that is dedicated to openness, transparency, and scientific rigour. The program needed to be arm's-length from government and industry, scientifically neutral with free and accessible data in order to support educated decisionmaking.
Even though the ABMI has certainly grown and faced numerous challenges over the years, our core values have remained unchanged.
The Development of the ABMI
In 1997 a group of energetic resource managers and leading scientists recognized a gap in the management system and started contemplating what the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Program (which later became the ABMI) would look like. They began by designing an inventory prototype that would be science-based and comprehensive across the province of Alberta.
The first stage of development required four years of drafting scientific protocols, which are the foundation to the ABMI.
Initially the ABMI program focused on monitoring forests, however, this quickly expanded to monitor the populations of a diversity of biota, vegetation communities as well as the state of habitat structures and landscape patterns.