Salamanders vs. the Simpsons: Community-based ecosystem monitoring

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Kamloops, BC: FORREX-Forest Research Extension Partnership


Public concern for the environment and endangered species is growing. Canadian society has a more involved relationship with nature and natural resources than we did 50, or even 25 years ago. Ironically, this explosion of ecological awareness comes precisely at a time when governments at all levels are scaling back on their involvement in monitoring the environment. Monitoring programs funded through incremental or non-base budgets, combined with the steady pace of government ministry reorganizations, often result in short-term, fragmented, and ineffective government ecological monitoring. In a new phenomenon known as community-based ecosystem monitoring (CBEM), citizen groups, non-government organizations (NGOs), and individual citizens monitor a local species, ecosystem, or ecosystem process. CBEM can be viewed as government downloading of costs or as an historic taking-back of social responsibility. Benefits of CBEM include data acquisition, increased public awareness of nature and ecosystems, and opportunities for environmentalists to see decision-making first-hand. British Columbia is fertile ground for CBEM in that it has a well-developed NGO community, a stunning variety of ecological and natural resource issues, and a government that is currently downsizing its "dirt ministries." CBEM has a long-established precedent in the First Nations tradition of close and daily observation of nature.



Ecosystem management, Biological assessment, Semiarid zones, Temperate zones, Ecosystem, Biodiversity, Best management practices, Forest management, Biological indicators, Forest ecosystems, Sustainable forestry, Conservation, Forestry, Forests, Resource management tools, Natural resource management, Biodiversity conservation, Ecosystem


BC Journal of Ecosystems and Management 3(1): 1-5