Workshop on a Canadian Biodiversity Observation Network (CAN BON) – EOI

Community, Regional & Enterprise Development
Environment, Energy and Natural Resources
Governance and Public Policy
Social Justice


Academic Unit: Inquire within your unit

Memorial Deadline: No RGCS review required for the EOI

External Deadline: Monday 31st, May 2021


A workshop is being organized to discuss the feasibility and desirability of establishing a Canadian Biodiversity Observation Network (CAN BON) to transform Canada’s capacity to research, survey, and monitor biodiversity, natural resources and ecosystem services in ways that will better inform management and conservation. The emphasis of the workshop will be: (1) identifying existing initiatives, data and resources related to biodiversity observation and monitoring that could contribute to a CAN BON; and (2) evaluating ways that a CAN BON could enhance these initiatives through improved integration, collaboration or syntheses.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Parks Canada (PC) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) are working together to strengthen collaborative efforts among the academic community, government agencies, non-government organizations, Indigenous rights holders and other relevant stakeholders regarding biodiversity observation and monitoring in Canada.

Biodiversity monitoring is the process of observing biodiversity and tracking how it changes through time. Monitoring provides the data for predicting trends in biodiversity, evaluating the integrity of ecosystems, their responses to disturbances, and the success of actions taken to conserve or recover biodiversity. Biodiversity research can support monitoring by addressing key questions and testing hypotheses about how and why biodiversity is changing across locations. Such research provides essential context for interpreting monitoring results, guiding future monitoring, and supporting local, regional, national and international efforts to conserve and restore biodiversity. Sustainable biodiversity monitoring initiatives must be user-driven, directly serving policy and management needs. Sustainable initiatives also recognize that generating knowledge about the land and waters is a goal shared with Indigenous peoples with recognized rights, titles, treaties and land claim agreements and, as such, research should co-develop knowledge with Indigenous peoples.

NSERC, ECCC, DFO, PC and CSA are convening a workshop to discuss a potential Canadian Biodiversity Observation Network (CAN BON) that could transform Canada’s capacity to survey, manage and conserve its biodiversity, natural resources and ecosystem services to support our transition to a sustainable economy. Existing biodiversity monitoring programs in Canada are delivered by many different players and occur in many different forms. These range from large-scale informal citizen science projects to statistically designed monitoring of managed species such as migratory birds or mammals, to inventories of rare species, to intensive site-specific monitoring, to use of satellite imagery for mapping and monitoring ecosystems. Linking these efforts could lead to synergies and efficiencies in analysis and reporting. Key to this will be improving interoperability of different data types and adopting common and open protocols for monitoring and inference.  This will facilitate identification and targeting of gaps in coverage, and ultimately greatly strengthen efforts to conserve biodiversity in Canada.

CAN BON would be part of GEO BON, the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network. GEO BON is a global network of 1500 researchers and more than 500 partner organizations. The mission of GEO BON is to improve the acquisition, coordination and delivery of biodiversity observations and related services to users and decision makers (e.g., Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity). The aim of GEO BON is to establish a global network of biodiversity observation networks that contributes to effective management policies for biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Preliminary Timeline

Date Activity
May 4, 2021 Call for expressions of interest
May 31, 2021 Expression of interest deadline
June 2021 Invitations to workshop
Summer 2021 Workshop (online) – dates TBD

Please note that these dates are subject to change.

Additional information can be found here.

Funding Sources

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

This opportunity was posted by: RGCS

Last modified: May 6, 2021