Conservation in national parks
National parks are created to conserve and develop territories that are representative of the different natural regions of Québec. They are home to many species, some of which are rare or vulnerable. They protect some of the most beautiful landscapes of the province. They enable the population to connect with nature and have memorable experiences.
Achieve the conservation mission
Conservation is the priority objective of national parks. To achieve this mission, Sépaq acts on many fronts to protect these natural jewels, address the issues identified in the conservation plans, and monitor the health status of the parks so as to intervene quickly when a problem is identified. Sépaq ensures that territories are used and developed in such a way as to reduce the human footprint on natural environments as much as possible, and the organization works in conjunction with stakeholders from peripheral areas to reduce pressure from outside the parks. It also disseminates conservation projects to inspire all Quebecers to adopt best practices to protect Québec’s natural environment.
The Environmental Indicators Monitoring Program (EIMP) was established in 2004 to evaluate the health status of national parks. This program aims to assess this status based on a nine- criteria framework:
- Where habitats offer high-quality biophysical conditions
- Where ecosystems evolve naturally
- Where viable populations of rare or particular species and habitats can be conserved
- Where a species is exploited sustainably without significantly altering the dynamics of its ecosystem
- Where ecosystems are not significantly dominated or altered by invasive alien species, i.e. where they do not conflict with the native species of the park
- Where there are few if any unwanted anthropogenic disturbances inside the park
- Where the park territory is developed and used in such a way as to minimize the human footprint and impacts
- Where cohabitation between wildlife and visitors is harmonious
- Where the park is integrated into a larger network of interconnected natural environments
One or more indicators were developed for each of these criteria. The health status of the park is determined by examining all indicators, like a physician examining a patient.
An evaluation of the results of each indicator is carried out annually, making it possible to identify corrective measures to be put in place when an indicator reveals a problem.
Every five years, a report on the health status of parks is prepared. This report serves to develop a more in-depth portrait of the health status of each park. The next five-year review will be published in 2019.
Québec’s national parks are special natural laboratories for scientific research because they preserve ecosystems with a high level of ecological integrity. They can be used as reference sites to study phenomenon that we see only rarely elsewhere, or to better understand the impacts of human activities on unprotected lands.
Scientific knowledge is at the foundation of conservation in the parks. Inventories, follow-ups and research aim to improve our understanding of the land to clarify our decisional processes. The results of these studies also contribute to the development of relevant and enriching educational programs for visitors.
Throughout the network, many projects take place every year. Some are featured in the National Parks Conservation Newsletter.
Are you a researcher who would like to do a scientific study in a park?
There is still a great need for research in the parks, and we hope to develop more research partnerships with the scientific community. Doing a research project in a park is easy, and can represent several advantages:
- The parks have interesting historical data, some of which goes back many years.
- Studies in several fields have been done, which makes it possible to draw up a good portrait of the territories.
- The parks’ conservation status allows projects to be monitored over the long-term, without fear that the study site will disappear.
- The parks’ teams know their territory and are happy to share their knowledge.
- In some cases, measures on the field can be carried out by the park teams, saving travelling time for the researchers.
If you would like to do a research project in a national park, we first invite you to contact the person responsible for the conservation and education department of this park and, if necessary, complete the research authorization form.
Obtain a research permit
The request for scientific research authorization aims to implement an agreement between a national park and a researcher for the development of a research project and/or to fulfill a legal obligation allowing the researcher to carry out activities not stipulated in the regulations.
The request for authorization process is intended to be simple, fast, and efficient. The researcher or project leader must complete the form provided for this purpose following a discussion with the park research director.
Thereafter, park management analyzes the application and issues, when appropriate, an authorization as quickly as possible. At all times, the work carried out must have an acceptable minimal impact on the integrity of the park. The results of the work must be communicated to the park team to enable dissemination of the knowledge acquired and to incorporate this information into park management procedures.
Authorization required under the Parks Act
The research authorization signed by the director allows the researcher and his or her team to carry out activities that are generally not permitted in the park. The research authorization issued by the park does not free the researcher from his or her obligation to obtain all other permits required.
Over 200 knowledge acquisition and environmental management projects take place annually in the Québec National Parks network. The conservation newsletter was developed to distribute some of these results. Published every year, it summarizes the principal projects undertaken during the previous year.
(In French only)
- 2019 conservation newsletter
- 2018 conservation newsletter
- 2016-2017 conservation newsletter
- 2015 conservation newsletter
- 2014 conservation newsletter
- 2013 conservation newsletter
- 2012 conservation newsletter
- 2011 conservation newsletter
- 2010 conservation newsletter
- 2009 conservation newsletter
- 2008 conservation newsletter
Discover exceptional destinations
24 national parks located all across Québec. More than 6,995 km² of unique protected territories.