Projects Inventory


Assessing Ecosystem Services in Alberta

Carrie Selin

Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute

March 2012 - December 2018

Audience(s): Cow-Calf NGOs Institutions/Academics   Project Type(s): Pilot

The Ecosystem Services Assessment (ESA) project maps and quantifies ecosystem services produced on Alberta‚Äôs landscapes. As market forces continue to pressure the resource development industries, the ESA project will demonstrate how landscapes in Alberta support key ecosystem services (ES) that contribute to social, economic, and environmental objectives. The project started with measuring forage production, timber production, carbon storage, pollination, water purification, and biodiversity. This project can position the beef industry to make informed decisions in lowering environmental liabilities, and improve social license to operate. To assess the supply and value of ES it is critical to establish baselines against which we can measure future changes, including the benefit human communities, to describe the relationship between management actions and the resultant change in ES and also to examine the trade-offs in ES as human demands on ecosystems grow.  The primary objectives are: 

  1. Robust validation and demonstration of protocols and models (systems) to assess ES and biodiversity through case studies and applied research.
  2. Aggressive delivery of ESA application and outreach tools to support land use planning, sustainably reporting and policy for market based options.
  3. Develop three additional models to be integrated into systems to assess ES and biodiversity

Goal #3: Enhance ecosystem services and biodiversity on lands managed by beef producers

Indicators Addressed:
  • Water Quality - Phosphorus, Nitrogen and Total Suspended Solids loading
  • Biodiversity Index - Pollination
  • Forage production & Carbon Storage
  • Predict future change in ES and Biodiversity when management actions are applied, such as conversion of croplands to rangelands, conserving native grasslands for biodiversity and carbon storage and restoration of riparian areas and wetlands.
Communication Tools:

This project will result in research publications in journals and peer reviewed reports. 

  • Habib, TJ, S. Heckbert, JJ Wilson, AJK Vandenbroeck, J Cranston, and DR Farr. 2016. Impacts of land-use management on ecosystem services and biodiversity: an agent-based modelling approach. PeerJ 4:e2814; DOI 10.7717/peerj.2814
  • Habib, TJ. 2017. Pigeon Lake Phosphorus Runoff Modelling. Final Report. Current Conditions, Development, & Restoration Scenarios. ABMI Report. Edmonton, Alberta.

Models are based on available provincial data and can be applied in other jurisdictions. Extension and outreach include: online ES inventory, presentations, posters, workshops, training, and website material including found at:

Tagged as: Environment