The General Status assessments are an ongoing effort to examine all wild species. This is part of a cooperative effort with other provincial, territorial and federal wildlife departments in Canada.
The General Status of Wild Species in New Brunswick reports on the conservation status of groups of wild species. It asks the question: How secure are our populations of wildlife species?
The answers to this question provide a basic starting point for addressing species at risk. By assessing the status of each species, we are able to identify those that will probably require additional efforts to ensure their survival in our province. We are also able to determine the species for which we have little information, which helps to guide future monitoring or research efforts. In addition, by answering this question for many species, we are able to construct a snapshot of how well our wildlife is doing, a picture that we can use to measure our progress in the future. General status assessments also help to guide conservation and management decisions and to track establishment and spread of non-native species.
The need to monitor and report on the status of wildlife is one of the key conservation elements agreed upon nationally in 1996 in the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk. Thus, the importance of this assessment exercise has been recognized across the country. These efforts are guided by standards that have been developed by a national working group, formed by members from each of the provinces and territories, and from each of the federal agencies with jurisdiction over wildlife species. The results from across the country are published in a series of national reports entitled Wild Species. Reports have been compiled for 2000, 2005 and 2010 (see Wild Species Reports – Canada).
The status of New Brunswick species is determined by consultations between Natural Resources and biologists and naturalists who have extensive field experience and expertise. We wish to acknowledge the generosity of these people, who donate so much time and effort to this large task.
Other species will eventually be addressed. These species will be chosen based on two factors:
- The degree of conservation concern.
- Availability of data and expertise.
In addition, current plans call for us to reassess species already assessed, as well as any new groups added later, at five-year intervals. This will allow us to track changes in species status over time, and will give us a useful tool to identify species which might be of conservation concern, before their situation becomes critical. It will also allow us to assess whether there are trends concerning species thought to be at risk that may identify habitats or ecosystems which may require particular attention.