The Ecosystem Management team enables change in Alberta’s environmental sector by developing and applying innovations which support cost-effective management at local to provincial scales. We do this by developing, adapting and validating innovative tools and approaches at the intersections of ecology, economics and policy. These activities facilitate the growth of Alberta-based enterprises, make Alberta more competitive in national and international markets, support social license to operate and enable government agencies to make better informed management decisions.
Human activities – such as forestry, petroleum, agriculture, transportation – come with environmental costs. The Ecosystem Management team examines how a range of anthropogenic activities impact landscapes, ecosystems and species, using applied research to explore ways to measure, minimize and mitigate these impacts. This is a vital function in enabling Alberta’s continued economic growth.
Focal Areas Within Ecosystem Management Team
- Aboriginal programs: InnoTech Alberta has developed a unique approach to skill development, communication, resource sharing and promotion of Indigenous participation in the environmental industry. Recent training programs developed at InnoTech – and delivered with a variety of partners – have included environmental monitoring, and pipeline leak detection and monitoring. Ongoing contact and support for Indigenous individuals and communities in relation to the environmental services sector is provided through the Aboriginal Environmental Services Network, an entity managed by InnoTech Alberta.
- Ecological research: Scientists at InnoTech Alberta develop, validate and apply a wide range of technologies and methods to examine the influence of natural and human forces on ecological systems and their components. Current research areas include biodiversity response to land use change; invasive species, vegetation and wildlife response to climate change; and ecological responses to industrial by-products. We employ a variety of technologies in our work, including aquatic mesocosms (volume of 15,000L each), wildlife camera arrays, radio and satellite tracking, and noninvasive DNA sampling, including eDNA.
- Planning and environmental economics: Understanding and enabling optimal approaches to environmental management is a vital component to balancing economic returns with ecological impacts. Members of our team model the impact of market-based instruments (e.g. offsets) on the economics and ecological goods and services of industry (e.g. agriculture) and environmental management (e.g. seismic line restoration). We also use modelling to develop approaches to predict natural resource inventories (e.g. ecosites, soil types) based on remotely-collected data, as well as other data sets.