ES Symposium 2017

Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity Science Symposium

November 14, 2017 8:30 – 3:00 P.M University of Lethbridge

You’re invited to join the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) and our collaborators for a Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity Science Symposium! ABMI’s Ecosystem Services Assessment project is assessing and mapping ecosystem services across the province of Alberta to better understand how management and land use decision affect the provision of ecosystem services in the province. We invite you to attend an engaging series of presentations from experts in the field, showcasing the state of the science of ecosystem services, and offering opportunity for discussion with researchers and practitioners.

Who should attend?



Some of the benefits provided by nature have a clear, recognized, and well-understood economic value (e.g., food and timber production), while others don’t (e.g., water purification, recreation). Continued provision of ecosystem services (especially those lacking clear economic value) and biodiversity in a growing province like Alberta is a big challenge for environmental managers and decision makers. While regulatory approaches will continue to be an important part of Alberta’s environmental management system, market approaches can also promote actions such as restoration and protection, conservation and stewardship. Market approaches can also provide economic incentives to avoid or minimize the loss of ecosystem services and biodiversity caused by development. Both regulatory and market approaches need reliable knowledge of where ecosystem services are provided, who benefits, and how they are affected by people and ecological processes. Sounds straightforward? It’s not. Check out the recent Special Feature in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – while researchers and practitioners from around the world are making great progress, there’s much to learn. We’ve convened several experts to present and discuss the science of ecosystem services, the challenges of applying it, and the opportunities to accelerate progress in Alberta.

Please register here.

Your Host

The Ecosystem Services Assessment Project led by the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, is a collaborative effort to assess and map ecosystem services across Alberta, to better understand how planning and management decisions affect the benefits people receive from nature. The project is part of the Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity Network.

For more information

Carrie Selin – ABMI Ecosystem Services Assessment Project 780.913.7292 ESA applications


8:00   Registration
8:30   Welcome and opening remarks
8:45   Presentation 1: Ecosystem and Biodiversity Data is a vital component      to future decision making and development of workable solutions. David Hill, University of Lethbridge
9:15   Presentation 2: The ABMI’s Geospatial Initiatives to support biodiversity monitoring in Alberta. Jahan Kariyeva, ABMI
9:45   Presentation 3: Using Alberta’s Climate Records to evaluate impact of climate change. Dr. Stefan Kienzle, U of L
10:15   Poster session & Health Break (30 mins)
10:45     Presentation 4: Wiretapping the wilderness: New approaches to wildlife monitoring using automated acoustic recorders and deep learning. Dr. Erin Bayne, University of Alberta & ABMI
11:15     Presentation 5: Enhancing our Resource Inventories: Introduction to      the Comprehensive Automated Land Inventory (CALI). Toni Anderson, Silvacom
11:45   Lunch (60 min)
13:00   Start of workshop/discussion forum
15:00   Adjourn

Abstracts and Speaker Bios

The ABMI’s Geospatial Initiatives to Support Biodiversity Monitoring in Alberta Jahan Kariyeva, Director Geospatial Centre, ABMI

The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) measures and reports on the state of biodiversity and human footprint across the province of Alberta. Due to increasing impacts of anthropogenic pressure on natural ecosystems, the quantification of landscape change has become an essential need in the fields of biodiversity monitoring and environmental management. To support this need, the ABMI employs a comprehensive geospatial program that aims to develop and implement methods to assess and monitor changes in habitat and human footprint, and to develop and make information products and knowledge accessible for use by the ABMI, general public, and resource managers and planners across Alberta. In addition to traditional remotely sensed data processing and analytical approaches, the ABMI is continually developing new geospatial methods to deliver timely and relevant geospatial products and advances (e.g., open access satellite data sets, cloud computing, and machine-learning algorithms) to support operational and integrated applications of the ABMI data. This presentation will describe the geospatial approaches that ABMI uses to monitor the state of Alberta’s human footprint and assess the relationship between land use and the status of biodiversity in our province.

Speaker Bio

Jahan Kariyeva manages the ABMI’s Geospatial Centre. She is an environmental geographer, whose work has taken her to diverse ecosystems across the globe, including the deserts and steppes of Central Asia, mountains and drylands of the south western unites States and the Canadian prairie and boreal ecosystems. For the past few years, her focus has been human-environmental interactions and how environmental planning practices and management decisions affect ecosystem services, as now ecosystems response to the cumulative impacts of land-use and climate change.

Translating climate records into meaningful climate change indices Dr. Stefan Kienzle, Professor, University of Lethbridge

Dr. Stefan Kienzle and his Lab at the University of Lethbridge have analyzed a large amount of climate data for the period 1950 to 2010 to conduct trend analysis to discover how temperatures and precipitation have changed across Alberta. Based on the instrumental record, it is evident that the climate has changed unevenly across Alberta’s landscapes. Based on 43 climate indices, the analysis helps us to better understand the impacts of climate change on Alberta’s ecosystems. All indices are available on the dedicated web site (

Speaker Bio

Dr. Stefan Kienzle is Professor of Geography, specializing in hydrology and GIS at the Department of Geography, University of Lethbridge. During the past 30 years, he has worked in government research institutes, consulting, and various Universities in Africa, Europe, and Canada. Stefan is also Adjunct Professor at three other Universities. Stefan’s research focus is the analyses of watershed behaviour under a variety of environmental conditions, especially climate change. Dr. Kienzle has trained over 70 graduate students, and has made over 120 conference and public presentations. His recent research resulted in the creation of an interactive web site which helps the public and water managers to understand historical trends of climate change in Alberta.

Leading edge technologies in wildlife monitoring, survey design, and habitat modeling Dr. Erin Bayne, Co-Director Application Centre, ABMI

Soundscapes provide a diverse mixture of wildlife, human, and other natural sounds that can be used for documenting status, trend, and impacts on wildlife. Historically, many animal populations have been monitored by human observers visiting a location for a short period of time once a year and recording the species heard. These approaches have been uncoordinated and poorly standardized, which has prevented large-scale assessment of the cumulative effects of different types of human development in space and time. Ineffective decision making has been the end result. Automated recording units (ARUs) provide a new approach to environmental monitoring that relies on a physical record of soundscapes that can be stored and used by various partners to make more informed decisions about the environmental impacts in a consistent and repeatable way. The Bioacoustics Unit at the University of Alberta – Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute is a collaborative partnership working in Alberta’s oilsands region that has standardized approaches to the collection and processing of sound information using ARUs. Recent advances in computer-based species recognition through deep learning, drone imagery, new approaches to modelling of species detection error, and ARU sampling design will be highlighted in this talk. The success of the approach in coordinating government, non-profit, and industry in an effort to assess and mitigate the effects of industrial noise and light on amphibians and owls in the oilsands region of northern Alberta will be described as case studies of how technology can improve environmental monitoring performance.

Speaker Bio

Erin Bayne is the Co-Director of the Application Centre at ABMI, and is responsible for the development of projects and tools that support a wide range of environmental planning and management needs. This includes better understanding the interactions between climate change and land-use, economic and ecological trade-off assessment. Erin’s research is focused on understanding the cumulative ecological impacts of human activities on biodiversity that combine behavioural population and community ecology. Erin has developed cutting edge techniques in wildlife monitoring, survey design, geographic information systems and habitat modeling.

Enhancing our Resource Inventories: Introduction to the Comprehensive Automated Land Inventory (CALI) Toni Anderson, Senior Resource Analyst, Silvacom

CALI is a semi-automated vegetation inventory system that uses various technologies including digital imagery, softcopy technology, advanced imagery processing algorithms, Semi-Global Matching (SGM) data, and LiDAR to complete a highly detailed vegetation inventory. The presentation will focus on the new technologies being leveraged to make this innovative data collection possible, discuss the benefits of an automated land inventory, and briefly review two applications of the technology. Speaker Bio Toni Anderson is a senior resource analyst at Silvacom, a forestry and environmental consulting firm based out of Edmonton. She has a Business degree with a concentration in Economics and a Master’s of Science in Forestry, with a focus on Forest Economics, both from the University of New Brunswick. Toni is currently leading a number of ecosystem service projects at Silvacom and is passionate about encouraging private sector uptake of natural capital accounting and assessing ecosystem services. She believes valuing nature and understanding land use trade-offs is essential to improving land management.