Applying criteria and indicators to assess ecological integrity of a boreal national park and adjoining forest management units / by Andrew James Promaine.
Promaine, Andrew James
Master of Science
DisciplineForestry and the Forest Environment
SubjectForest ecology Ontario Pukaskwa National Park Region
Forest management Ontario Pukaskwa National Park Region
Sustainable forestry Ontario Pukaskwa National Park Region
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Assessing and evaluating ecological integrity is a complex and often subjective task. However, recent legislative changes have forced ecosystem managers to develop more quantitative techniques to measure ecological integrity, particularly in Canada's national parks. Using a combination of measures for forest sustainability (Canadian Council of Forest Ministers Criteria and Indicators, 1995) and existing regional data sets, a suite of indicators have been structured into a hierarchical framework for monitoring broad-scale, ecological forces (referred to as "drivers of change 11 as well as ecosystem, habitat and species dynamics for the Pukaskwa National Park ecosystem. The project's focus is on gaining a measurable understanding of the spatial and temporal aspects of the ecological integrity of the park and its broader ecosystem. The indicators reveal that: (1) Pukaskwa National Park may be more unique than representative of the central boreal uplands, and (2) increasing human demand for natural resources, particularly timber, is playing a significant role in the ability of park management to maintain the park's ecological integrity. Road construction in the greater park ecosystem may play a significant role. These are important results that shape the park's management approach and priorities. Continued use of this structural framework for ecological integrity will allow Pukaskwa National Park to be used as a benchmark for environmental change and contribute to the understanding required for mitigating such changes.