Cause-Effect Monitoring, Oil Sands Region

Cause-Effect Monitoring, Oil Sands RegionEnvironment and Climate Change Canada’s cause-effect monitoring is focused on understanding how boreal songbirds, including several Species at Risk, are affected by human activity in the oil sands area, particularly the impact of the physical disturbance of forested habitats from exploration, development and construction of oil sands. Determining the abundance of songbird species associated with various habitat type(s) and understanding how the type and number of birds varies with type and amount of habitat, are important components of assessing the effect of habitat disturbance.

Regional-scale monitoring focuses on understanding how and why boreal songbirds, including several Species at Risk, are affected by human activity across the Peace, Athabasca and Cold Lake oil sands area. Local-scale projects focus on addressing gaps in our understanding of complex response patterns at regional scales by targeting specific habitats or development features of interest.

These data contribute to:
a. improving the design of monitoring programs;
b. explaining observed trends in populations (why bird populations are increasing or decreasing);
c. predicting population sizes within the oil sands area; and
d. assessing the individual, additive and cumulative effects of oil sands and other resource development on boreal birds.

Data are used by ECCC and our partners to develop new models and increase the robustness of existing models of bird responses to habitat and disturbance. Because models can be used to predict outcomes of future land management scenarios, these models can assist decision-making by helping evaluate land-use choices before impacts are directly observed.


External resources


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