By Jessica Wallace
The Miistakis Institute, a research institute affiliated with the Faculty of Environmental Design (EVDS), is embarking on a three-year project led by the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring (ABMI) Institute, to understand how Alberta can manage for biodiversity in the face of a changing climate.
The Biodiversity Management and Climate Change Adaptation project will identify practical actions for managing Alberta’s wild species of plants and animals as their environment is altered by climate change. This proactive investment in knowledge and tools will deliver significant benefits to Albertans and avoid crisis-driven interventions that are reactive, costly and often ineffective.
Led by the ABMI, this collaborative project involves a team of biodiversity scientists and policy analysts from the Miistakis Institute, the University of Alberta, Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, and the Government of Alberta.
The Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC) recently announced $7 million in funding for three projects that will help Alberta adapt to climate change impacts. The Biodiversity Management and Climate Change Adaptation project earned $2.4 million of the funding.
The project team will assess the climate-related vulnerability of hundreds of species ranging from inconspicuous prairie flowers to familiar backyard birds, and create an action plan that addresses both vulnerabilities and opportunities.
Miistakis will be responsible for a sub-project that will support southern Alberta communities by developing a map-based decision support system. The system will allow users to better understand climate-related risks and adaptations in the context of ecosystem services.
“The goal of this sub-project – and its central challenge – is to connect the vast realm of biodiversity and climate change adaptation information to the everyday world of a local community decision-maker,” says Guy Greenaway, senior project manager at Miistakis.
The result will be a map-based interactive tool that will inform users about the current supply of ecosystem services near their community and how that supply would be affected by climate change.
Established in 1995, Miistakis undertakes and supports pure and applied research of ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains and surrounding region. Its research assists in the development and implementation of collaborative ecosystem management through close partnership with federal, provincial/state and municipal agencies, landowners, First Nations, conservation organizations and industry.