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Data Sources and Methods for the Park Ecological Integrity Indicator

5. Caveats and limitations

Ecosystems are not of equal area or of equal importance in parks; comparisons between systems or between parks must be made with caution.

Monitoring is evolving and so reporting is currently incomplete. Some parks have not yet reported, while others are basing their reports on incomplete suites of measures that reflect current data availability. Ecological integrity measures are selected using objective techniques to provide comprehensive assessments. In many cases, however, incomplete data mean that preliminary data, expert opinion and ecological principles must be used to support the selection of measures and the definition of thresholds. Information on trends requires a longer period of data collection and is therefore less complete than status information.

The equal weighting of measures may not always reflect their relative ecological importance.

Ecological integrity is reported every two years in the State of Protected and Heritage Areas Report but the underlying data are updated less frequently. Individual parks report once every five years on a rotating schedule, resulting in the blending of data that is from zero to six years old in the reported indicator.

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