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Alberta's natural ecosystems shrinking fast

posted Feb 7, 2018, 6:38 AM by Action for Agriculture
Between 1999 and 2015, human activity in Alberta visibly converted over 23,000 km2 of native ecosystems into residential, recreational, or industrial landscapes, an area 3.5 times the size of Banff National Park.

Land transformation due to human activity poses the greatest threat to biodiversity worldwide. To evaluate how land-use decisions affect both environmental sustainability and economic growth, it’s critical to have good data on which activities are transforming the landscape, as well as where and to what degree these activities are occurring. The ABMI report provides the first-ever comprehensive province-wide assessment of human footprint patterns, breaking them down by footprint type and by various sub-regions. 

As of 2015, total human footprint occupied 29.2% of Alberta. The largest contributor to the total was agriculture, which occupied 20.2% of the province, followed by forestry footprint at 4.3% and energy footprint at 1.9%. Furthermore, human footprint was dynamic: between 1999 and 2015, it increased by 3.5% of Alberta’s land base—an area 3.5 times the size of Banff National Park, a change largely driven by the creation of new forestry footprint.