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Analyse de la prise en compte des hydrosystèmes par la Stratégie québécoise sur les aires protégées dans la province naturelle des Laurentides méridionales

Publication Type: Technical Report

Author: Roy, A.A, M. Darveau et L.V. Lemelin

Date: 2006

Wetlands, aquatics ecosystems, and riparian habitats are particularly important because of their biodiversity, biological productivity, and numerous associated ecological functions. In a conservation network, a representative part of the territory should directly be assigned to those types of ecosystems. This would help to capture an important diversity of species associated to those habitats. The Quebec government adopted a strategy on protected areas that aims at preserving 8% of its territory by a conservation network. The Quebec Strategy on Protected Areas (QSPA) uses the Ecological Framework of Reference (EFR) to determine areas to protect. Because the EFR is based on terrestrial characteristics, the government strategy could leave behind the conservation of the ecological integrity of freshwater hydrosystems. In a report published in 2005 by Ducks Unlimited Canada, Lemelin and Darveau showed that watersheds are rarely considered at the moment of determining protected areas. Their report analyzed whether or not the Abitibi and James Bay Lowlands (natural province [ecoregion] F of the EFR) and Mistassini Highlands (province G) hydrosystems were adequately taken into account by the QSPA for the selection of the interest areas. The authors assert that a combination of two ecological delimitations, like the EFR and the boundaries of the fourth level watersheds, could improve the consideration of aquatic ecosystems, wetlands and riparian habitats and consequently, of their biodiversity. The present report has been elaborated within the context of a student training experience. Using an approach inspired from Lemelin et Darveau, we examine to which extent watersheds are taken into account into the actual conservation network of the natural province of the Meridional Laurentian. We also identify watersheds of at least 500 km2 that show a potential for protection as typical hydrosystems of the Meridional Laurentian. The five watersheds that we selected contain a representative sample of wetlands, lakes and watercourses and have a relatively high ecological integrity. We suggest that at least one of these watersheds be considered by the government as a potential protected area and included in the protection network.

Roy, A.A, M. Darveau et L.V. Lemelin. 2006. Analyse de la prise en compte des hydrosystèmes par la Stratégie québécoise sur les aires protégées dans la province naturelle des Laurentides méridionales. Rapport technique N° Q2006-1, Canards Illimités – Québec, Québec, 27 p.

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