An ecosystem management program and assessment process was developed to standardize an ecosystem-based approach to protecting the ecological integrity of Ontario's national parks. The elements of the ecosystem management program collectively represent the dominant planning and technical aspects of ecosystem management. Within the program, 11 specific products ecosystem conservation plan, greater park ecosystem inventory and analysis, greater park ecosystem scope, area of cooperation, stakeholder analysis, partnership group management guidelines, scientific research program, ecological indicators, ecological integrity monitoring program, information network, and communication strategy are considered requisite tools to improve the scientific understanding required for park management within the context of greater park ecosystems and to increase communication and coordination among governments and citizens to improve decision making. The formal process uses evaluation criteria associated with the 11 products to assess progress in developing an ecosystem management program and the content of the related products. The assessment process, which provides comprehensive identification of a park's specific ecosystem management needs, has been applied to all national parks in Ontario in the past year, which has had the immediate effect of refining their ecosystem management programs.
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