Cumulative effects are the combined effects of past, present and foreseeable human activities, over time, on the environment, economy and society in a particular place.
Currently in Alberta, development that requires provincial approval is generally reviewed on a case-by-case basis. While this has allowed regulators to understand individual impacts, over time this approach has become inefficient and less responsive to place-based challenges.
Alberta needs a more effective and efficient management system that considers the cumulative effects of all activities. The current system is evolving and adapting to place-based challenges, which allows decision-makers to see the big picture and help those on the landscape to be more strategic and responsible in their development activities.
What is Cumulative Effects Management?
Cumulative Effects Management is an approach that establishes outcomes for an area by balancing environmental, economic and social considerations and implementing appropriate plans and tools to ensure those outcomes are met.
Cumulative effects management is:
- Outcomes-based: clearly defining, desired end-state
- Place-based: meeting the differing needs of regions within the province
- Performance management-based: using adaptive approaches to ensure results are measured and achieved
- Collaborative: building on a culture of shared stewardship, using a shared knowledge base
- Comprehensively implemented: using both regulatory and non-regulatory approaches