Biodiversity Management & Climate Change Adaptation


Our goal is to develop essential knowledge and tools to support the management of Alberta's biodiversity in a changing climate.

"Biodiversity" describes the variation present among living organisms, including diversity within and among species and ecosystems. Biodiversity has significant intrinsic and aesthetic value to Albertans, but it also supports the production of ecosystem services, such as water purification and forest productivity.

Climate change is recognized as a threat to biodiversity in Alberta, but the links between climate and biodiversity are still unclear, and policies for managing biodiversity in the face of climate change in Alberta are not well defined.


See what we've been up to!

Our collaborators Jennine Pedersen, Scott Nielsen and Ellen Macdonald at the University of Alberta are testing the use of assisted migration as a climate change conservation strategy for rare plants in Alberta.


Which Alberta plants and animals are most vulnerable to climate change?

We have completed the first-ever overview of how Alberta’s wild species are likely to be affected by climate change. Of all groups of species assessed, amphibians are among the most vulnerable to climate change.
Read the report
(PDF 7.6MB)

You can explore the climate vulnerability of each of the 173 species we assessed in our
vulnerability assessment database.

Also recent from the project:

Adaptation of Biodiversity Management to Climate Change (2014)
A review of the options for including consideration of climate change in the conservation and management of Alberta's biodiversity (1.3 MB)
Predicting New Invasive Plant Threats to Alberta (2014)
A risk assessment for 16 potentially new invasive plant species to Alberta that combines invasiveness and climate change-related risk (5.2 MB)
Burrowing Owl Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Alberta (2014)
The Burrowing Owl, an endangered species in Alberta and Canada, is facing increased development pressures and a changing climate. This report highlights adaptation strategies focused on the management of this species in light of changing climate conditions and an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events (2.6 MB)

Fact Sheet: Climate Change Adaptation for Biodiversity Management in Alberta


The story of how climate change and extreme weather events may impact Alberta's iconic Ferruginous Hawks
This research is done in collaboration with the Raptor Ecology and Conservation team (REACt) at the University of Alberta. REACt is supported by: University of Alberta, Government of Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service/Environment Canada, Interdepartmental Recovery Fund, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Department of Defense CFB Suffield), Cenovus, Nexen, Altalink, Suncor, IHS, Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada, Alberta ESRD, Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation, Alberta Conservation Association, Saskatchewan Ministry of the Environment.
Dr. Rick Schneider describes the ecosystem transitions expected over the next century in Alberta as our climate changes. From the ABMI Workshop: Better Environmental Management through Monitoring, October 2013
Dr. Erin Bayne highlights how ABMI data, combined with designed research studies can answer critical research questions at broad temporal and spatial scales relevant to climate change and land-use predictions. From the ABMI Workshop: Better Environmental Management through Monitoring, October 2013

Stories on ABMI's blog It's Our Nature to Know

Project Newsletters

Highlights of the Biodiversity Management and Climate Change Adaptation project
2013-2014 (4 KB)
2012-2013 (2 KB)


Native Species and Ecosystems

Alberta's Natural Subregions under a Changing Climate (2013)
Projections of ecosystem transitions in response to anticipated climate change in Alberta, including detailed maps of projected climate change and ecosystem shifts, and discussion of potential successional trajectories (18 MB)
High resolution figures
Framework for Vulnerability Assessments of Alberta Species (2012)
Interim report
Review of approaches for climate change vulnerability assessments of Alberta species (2 MB)
Projected Responses of Songbirds to Alberta Climate Change (2013)
Projected changes in the distribution and abundance of 84 Alberta-breeding songbirds in response to projected changes in climate, revealing the potential for dramatic northward shifts in suitable climates many of these species over the next century (5.6 MB)
This report is part of a boreal-wide project that has been submitted for publication. Contact the report authors for boreal-wide summaries of the models highlighted here
Scientific Approaches to Assessing Vulnerability of Alberta’s Biodiversity (2012)
Interim report
Overview of research directions to support assessment of climate change vulnerability of Alberta’s biodiversity (1.8 MB)

Strategies to Support Climate Sensitive Species

Assisted Migration of Climate Sensitive Rare Plants (2014)
Interim report
Summary of 2013 field research assessing the use of assisted migration as a potential tool for conserving dispersal-limited plant species, using two model species: northern blazing star and long-leaved bluets (1.1 MB)
2012 Field Summary
Climate Change and Assisted Migration of Montane Mammals (2014)
Interim report
Summary of 2013 field research on the influences of climate on the hibernation patterns of the Columbian ground squirrel. This research is providing essential knowledge on the natural adaptation of this species and assessing the utility of translocation as a conservation tool (1 MB)
Rare Grassland Birds and Extreme Weather (2013)
Interim report
Summary of 2013 field research assessing the vulnerability of two rare grassland birds, the Burrowing Owl and Ferruginous Hawk to extreme weather. For both species, this research is generating essential knowledge that will be incorporated into species at risk recovery plans (1 MB)
2012 Field Summary

Community Climate Change Adaptation

The Miistakis Institute is creating an online tool, Adapt-action, to support climate change adaptation in rural municipalities in southern Alberta. Background research contributing to the development of the tool is summarized in this set of reports.

*NEW* Groundwork: Understanding User Assumptions for the Adapt-action Tool (2014)
Interim report
A summary of information gathered through municipal stakeholder engagement, and how the outcomes can inform and improve the Adapt-action tool (1.1 MB)
Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Address Climate Change (2014)
Interim report
A review of potential climate change adaptation strategies that incorporate ecosystem-based approaches to reduce the impacts of climate change on the environmental, social and economic well-being of communities in southern Alberta (1.6 MB)
Implications of Climate Change for Rural Communities in Southern Alberta (2014)
Interim report
A summary of existing and potential future impacts of climate change on the well-being of communities in the prairie region of southern Alberta (1.9 MB)
Navigating with Narratives - Using Storytelling in Climate Change Adaptation Planning (2014)
Interim report
A description of how the use of narratives, or stories built around specific climate change issues, in the Adapt-action tool will guide the user from information on the projected changes in their region through to understanding strategies they can use to build a climate-change-resilient community (1.9 MB)
Stakeholder Engagement Strategy for the Adapt-action tool (2014)
Interim report
A plan to engage key stakeholders from municipalities, municipal organizations and organizations involved in climate change adaptation planning to test the provisional Adapt-action tool (1.9 MB)
Climate Change Adaptation Action Plans – Alberta Process Review (2013)
Interim report
This review identifies how decision support tools that reflect climate change impacts and adaptation strategies for biodiversity and ecosystem services can fit into climate change adaptation planning (0.4 MB)
Climate Change Resilience and Alberta Municipal Policies (2013)
Interim report
A review of southern Alberta municipal policies to identify the range of opportunities available to local governments to address climate change adaptation using existing municipal plans and policies (1.6 MB)
Downscaling Climate Data for Climate Change Adaptation Action Planning (2013)
Interim report
A review of techniques for downscaling climate data for climate change adaptation action planning, including examples of spatial (traditional) and narrative downscaling (0.6 MB)
Making Resilience Matter for Communities (2013)
Interim report
A communication strategy intended to guide creation of materials that support local decision-makers to embrace a resilience-based approach to climate change adaptation (1.5 MB)
Action Plan Approach for Local Adaptation to Climate Change (2013)
Interim report
An overview of the climate change action planning approach to climate change adaptation and identification of possible roles for ecosystem services and biodiversity in action planning for communities (4.1 MB)
Review of Tools for Local Adaptation to Climate Change (2012)
Interim report
Review of community-based approaches to climate change adaptation, including existing decision support tools and approaches to considering biodiversity and ecosystem services in climate change adaptation in communities (2 MB)

Other Reports

An assessment of the 24 general circulation models included in the IPCC’s 4th Assessment report, including a conservative selection of a suite of models for climate-change evaluation in Alberta (3 KB)


For more information:
Amy Nixon / Coordinator Biodiversity Management and Climate Change Adaptation
Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute
780 492 6322


This project is led by the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute with collaborators from the University of Alberta and the Miistakis Institute. We receive our core funding from the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation.

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