Parks Division's Science Strategy was approved in November 2009. It recognizes that a meaningful and effective integration of science into the Alberta parks system will benefit the ecological, social and economic health of parks and the entire province.
In order to best manage Alberta's parks, we need accurate information about them, the values they protect and provide, and the activities they support. The Science Strategy aims to support
- An increase in the amount, quality and availability of scientific information about Alberta's parks, the visitors who use them, and the recreation and visitor experiences they support
- Increased capacity to make informed decisions that positively affect Alberta's parks and their users, ultimately enhancing our ability to employ science-based management approaches
- A culture of respect for the value and importance of science in the management of protected areas
Specific objectives outlined in the Science Strategy are to
- improve communications with the research community;
- improve our management and dissemination of information;
- establish formal partnerships;
- establish regional research centres;
- involve staff in science; and
- ensure ongoing support for science in parks.
The Science Strategy details a number of priority action items.
- Setting research priorities
- Developing web-based resources to communicate (both externally and internally)
- Defining staff roles and responsibilities in relation to the Strategy
- Developing a consistent process for permitting, and for applying conditions to research and collection permits
- Identifying appropriate parks to serve as regional research nodes and, ultimately, to house research centres
The Science Strategy identifies a set of broad scientific priorities. These are not detailed research questions designed to fill specific knowledge gaps. Rather, they are fields of interest in which the priority setting process will be used to identify specific topics.
- Conducting inventories in Alberta's parks
- Studying the roles of parks in the broader context
- Developing best practices and innovative technologies
- Developing and monitoring key indicators
Timelines for progress toward priority actions are provided. Progress toward objectives and key outcomes will be reported on a regular basis.