CAN BON Meeting

May 3 - May 6, 2023, CIEE

This is the third meeting of a CIEE-initiated working group dedicated to outlining a possible technical design for a Canadian Biodiversity Observation Network (CANBON). Products underway are a manuscript for a peer-reviewed journal, a white paper for policy makers and advanced discussions of funding proposals (e.g. NSERC Alliance). 

“We lack long-term, standardized, spatially complete and readily accessible monitoring information …this significantly hinders our capacity to assess the status and health of Canada’s ecosystems.” Ecosystem Status & Trends Report of Canada (Fed., Prov. & Territorial Governments of Canada 2010).  

In July 2021, six Federal science bodies (NSERC, ECCC, DFO, CSA, NRCan and Parks Canada) joined with Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON) to support the first exploratory workshop to establish the Canadian Biodiversity Observation Network (Canada BON). 

This workshop was built upon a nationwide call for Expressions of Interest to develop a Biodiversity Observation Network (BON) through the framework developed by GEO BON. The call invited stakeholders nationwide for their ideas and potential contributions to a Canadian Biodiversity Observation Network. The organizing committee received 111 formal expressions of interest from university, government and community groups. All were interested in establishing an ambitious network for Canadian biodiversity monitoring and assessments. 

Following these expressions of interest, 60 individuals participated in a virtual workshop dedicated to considering the elements essential for establishing a successful, efficient and all-inclusive Canada BON. This was a first step in developing the stakeholder network for Canada BON (Figure 1, GEO BON resources for BON design). 

One of the key recommendations of the workshop was the initiation of a series of additional workshops dedicated to designing the three major dimensions of the BON (Figure 1):   

(1) the establishment of a synthetic Canada-wide biodiversity data infrastructure; 

(2) the technical sampling design and specification for the biological and physical measurements to be included in the BON; and 

(3) coordinated stakeholder network design. 

Our work advances objectives #1 and #2, namely an evaluation of available biodiversity information and articulation of a technical design for the network of locations for biodiversity observations and sampling that will be the backbone of the Canada BON. Our work on #2 will be integrated with ongoing developments in #3 (led by Environment and Climate Change Canada).