We Do Trend Monitoring

Preparing for the future.

“ABMI’s Monitoring Centre is the heart of the program and I think the staff are very aware of that. They are very dedicated to making sure that grassroots level delivers a high-quality product.” Colin Twitchell, Director, Monitoring Centre

Trend Monitoring

The goal of the ABMI is to provide scientific information on the state of Alberta’s biodiversity to support natural resource and land-use decision making in the province. We monitor and report on the status and trends of Alberta’s species, habitat, and human footprint. This includes reporting on the trends in population of over 3,000 species including mammals, birds, vascular and non-vascular plants, bryophytes, lichen and soil mites.

Monitoring at the ABMI

To do this, the ABMI’s Monitoring Centre hires up to 60 field technologists every summer to collect data at 1656 randomly selected sites across the entire province, including remote boreal forests, alpine meadows and agricultural fields. Field technologists collect data on terrestrial and wetland biodiversity on public, private, industrial and protected lands. Each site is re-visited every 5-7 years to monitor the status and trends of biodiversity in Alberta.

The data collection grid of 1656 sites are on a 20 km spacing and at full scale there will be approximately 350 sites on an annual basis.

Terrestrial Monitoring

Terrestrial field technologists’ survey protocols include:

  • Vascular plant identification
  • Bryophyte and lichen collection
  • Classification of ecosite and forest stand characteristics
  • Tree core collection and dendrochronology
  • Soil core collection for mite and soil chemistry analysis
Aquatic Monitoring

Aquatic Field Technologists’ survey protocols include:

  • Vascular plant identification
  • Classification of ecosite and wetland characteristics
  • Wetland mapping (bathymetric and wetland zones)
  • Water physio-chemistry analysis
  • Freshwater invertebrate collection

The Monitoring Centre also deploys trail cameras and autonomous recording units at each terrestrial site in the winter, retrieving them in the late summer. After looking through thousands of photos and listening to hundreds of hours of recordings, data from these units is used to monitor mammal and bird populations across the province.

Site Access

Since site locations are randomly selected, many of them are quite challenging to access. The Monitoring Centre utilizes helicopters, 4X4 trucks, ATV’s, and snowmobiles to access the sites. In the spring and summer they collect physical site data, conduct plant surveys, and collect the cameras and ARUs. They prepare for the next field season during the rest of the year, including managing and fixing equipment, selecting sites, hiring summer technicians, and completing winter field work, which includes deploying remote cameras and ARUs.

More questions? Feel free to contact:

Colin Twitchell

Director - Monitoring Centre

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