The central argument for monitoring can be stated in a single sentence: You cannot recognize, understand, improve or maintain what you do not or cannot measure. The ability to measure is a necessity—an activity that we need to maintain our well-being and the quality of our lives. Also, this need places monitoring squarely in the context of achieving sustainability; it provides valuable tools that offer indicative measures of:
Ecological and Environmental Resources;
Economic Development and Growth; and
Social Structure and Dynamics.
Purposeful, scientifically-defensible and credible measurements and observations in each of these areas can provide powerful bases for decisions and management actions that are focused upon a variety of goals including those related to sustainability. Broad categories of measurements arise from the practice of a spectrum of disciplines, not only those arising from environmental issues, opportunities and concerns.
The etymology of the term 'monitoring' derives from the Latin monēre: to warn (that is, “something or someone that warns, an overseer). Originally, in English, the definition of the term monitoring was limited to characterizing “someone who gives a warning so that a mistake can be avoided”. Now, it also connotes the act of observing something (and sometimes keeping a record of that observation; or to: keep watch; keep track of; keep under surveillance; or, check usually for a special purpose). With ever-increasing technological capability, the term can be used to describe a device (usually electronic) used to record, regulate, or control a process or system. Its meaning extends to keeping track of systematically (that is, on a regular or ongoing basis) with a view to collecting information. For example, to monitor the plant or animal populations of an ecological system or drinking water for impurities, to measure the condition of a nation's economy, or to monitor a peoples' social, political or cultural views or habits.
Humankind is now in its third generation since the chemical revolution—circa 1940. The myriad dimensions and implications of this worldwide phenomenon and its actual and...
Alberta Mountain forestsLast Updated on 2014-03-01 17:11:36This ecoregion lies almost wholly within Alberta but hugs the Alberta-British Columbia border from Banff northward to Jasper and Kakwa.
Mean annual temperature in the Eastern Continental Ranges is 2.5°C, mean summer temperature is 12°C and mean winter temperature is -7.5°C. Precipitation increases from east to west with elevation, from 600-800 millimeters (mm) per year. Valley regions are marked by warm, dry summers and mild, snowy winters, and subalpine areas have cool, showery summers and cold, snowy winters.
This region covers the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, incorporating the eastern flanks of the Continental Ranges. The major peaks cluster around the Columbia Icefield, the largest ice field in the Rocky Mountains. The ranges themselves are linear with great cliffs and precipitous faces of thick sections of gray carbonate strata, and peaked by rock... More »
Antipodes Subantarctic Islands tundraLast Updated on 2014-02-02 17:08:35
This ecoregion consists of five island groups spread out across the Southern Ocean: Bounty Islands, Auckland Islands, Antipodes Islands, Campbell Island, and Macquarie Island. Their remote location means they are critically important as resting and breeding areas for thousands of marine mammals and millions of seabirds. Biological and geological values are outstanding, with the islands boasting a highly endemic plant flora and a range of endemic and endangered birds. All of the islands are Nature Reserves and listed as World Heritage Sites, but introduced animals, especially mammalian predators, are of serious concern.
Scattered throughout the Southern Ocean, these islands range from the cold temperate zone (Macquarie Island) to the cool temperate zone, where the rest of the islands lie. All the islands are situated between the Antarctic and Sub-tropical Convergences. Area,... More »
Admiralty Islands lowland rainforestsLast Updated on 2013-11-05 14:31:57The Admiralty Islands Lowland rainforests contain several endemic species, yet the biodiversity of these islands is still poorly known. Intensive commercial logging and conversion of forests to agriculture are the greatest threats to the ecoregion.
The Admiralty Islands are located slightly north of Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the southwest Pacific Ocean and are often grouped together with New Britain and New Ireland to make up the Bismarck Archipelago. The Admiralty Islands form the political unit of Manus Province, PNG. Manus Province is the smallest province of PNG in both land area and population (32,713). The temperature of the Admiralty Islands varies little throughout the year, reaching daily highs of 30-32° Celsius and 20-24°C at night. Average annual rainfall is 3382 millimeters (mm) and is somewhat seasonal, with June through August being the wettest... More »
Valdivian temperate forestsLast Updated on 2013-10-31 23:35:06The Valdivian temperate forests and the more hygrophilous vegetation of the mediterranean climate zone of central Chile, represent a veritable biogeographic island, separated from climatically similar areas by the extensive Pacific Ocean barriers and flanking deserts. Rainfall varies so dramatically within the ecoregion, that some of the sub-units can be considered dry forests, with others classified as rainforest.
The Valdivian temperate forest is characterised by its extraordinary endemism (e.g., 90 percent at the species level and 34 percent at the genus level for woody species) and the great antiquity of its biogeographic relationships. However, faunal species richness is only modest, with only 290 vertebrate taxa having been recorded, in spite of the broad latitude niche available.
Its taxons show close philogenetic relationships dating to the early Tertiary, with Gondwanic... More »
The North American MosaicLast Updated on 2013-10-24 15:12:08
An Overview of Key Environmental Issues
The North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation obliges the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation to “periodically address the state of the environment in the territories of the Parties.” To meet this obligation, the Secretariat has developed this report—The North American Mosaic: An Overview of Key Environmental Issues—with the support of environmental reporting experts from the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States.
This report describes a wide variety of environmental trends and conditions across North America. The breadth and diversity of the subject are astounding: from tiny invasive zebra mussels to global greenhouse gases measured by the teragram; from the last remaining vaquita porpoises to vast expanses of boreal forests and marine ecosystems; from invisible... More »
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