Posted February 02, 2018 09:05:56 Alberta has some of the best national grasslands in the world, according to a new national grassland map created by the Canadian Grasslands Association.
“Alberta’s grasslands are among the most diverse in the country, with thousands of native grasslands, hundreds of protected and threatened species, and some of our most stunning landscape features such as mountains and canyons,” said CGA president and CEO Heather Martin in a news release.
“With over 4,000 distinct grasslands and more than 1,200 species of native vegetation, Alberta is one of the most ecologically diverse regions in the nation.”
In the 2016 National Grasslands Map, Alberta had the second-highest number of protected grasslands among all Canadian provinces, after Saskatchewan.
But the number of grasslands that were protected in 2016 fell to just over 3,000, a drop of nearly half.
While Alberta is now the only province with more than 2,000 grasslands protected in the national map, it still has a long way to go to get there.
The province had just 1,715 grasslands last year.
“We need to work on getting our grasslands back to a level that reflects the biodiversity that exists here in Alberta,” said Martin.
The National Grassland Map is a joint effort between the Canadian Association of Grassland Protection Professionals and the CGA.
The CGA was created in 2014 to support grasslands management, while the CPA was formed in 2013 to help protect grasslands from erosion.
In the 2017 map, the CAA found that Alberta had a lower biodiversity of protected species than any other province.
“In fact, Alberta has the second lowest number of species of protected plants, with less than 10% of the total number of plant species in the province,” according to the report.
“That’s why it’s critical that we protect the most threatened species,” said Jennifer Brown, the president and chief executive officer of the CAGP.
The report notes that grasslands have been declining across the country and in Alberta for decades, but has not been brought back to pre-industrial levels of biodiversity.
In 2016, the number had dropped to less than 20% of what it was in 1975.