Wilderness and ecological reserves can be excellent places to conduct scientific research. And that research can definitely serve our reserves, because it provides much-needed information about how species and natural systems function, cope, thrive, fail, and adapt.
Without in-depth knowledge of our natural systems, we cannot hope to begin to understand all the ways we interact with, affect, and are affected by the natural world. Research provides important biophysical data for a wide variety of interested audiences, and it assists the Province in managing its protected areas.
Scientific research is therefore encouraged in the province's wilderness and ecological reserves. Please note that permits are required.
Research in wilderness and ecological reserves requires authorization by the Natural Areas Program, Land Management Division. Researchers must apply for a scientific research permit, and carry it with them when conducting their research in the protected area.
Applications are evaluated by the Natural Areas Program. The criteria used include:
Research applications are evaluated as they are received. It is advisable to allow for a minimum of three weeks' processing time.
The process for evaluating applications for seabird ecological reserves is slightly different. They are reviewed once a year by the Seabird Ecological Reserves Advisory Committee (SERAC), and must be received at the Natural Areas Program office before March 31. A list of Newfoundland and Labrador's seabird ecological reserves is accessible here.
Conditions of a scientific research permit include compliance with the legislation governing it's protection (Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act, or Lands Act). Generally, all scientific work must be non-invasive and non-intrusive-it cannot be done in a way that destroys or diminishes the protected area. There are a few exceptions to the regulations for researchers, such as collecting specimens, which are outlined in the appropriate regulations and may also be listed on the permit. Other conditions may also apply.
Multi-year permits may be requested, to a maximum limit of three years.
Successful applicants must submit a Field Report one month after their field season has ended, a Final Report by January 31 following the final year of the research, and any published material resulting from the work.
Anyone conducting scientific research and/or monitoring in a reserve must have a valid scientific research permit.
The information required for a permit application includes the following details about the proposed study:
If a permit is granted and the project proceeds, researchers must submit to the Natural Areas Program:
Other conditions may also apply. There is no fee charged for a permit.
For more information on scientific research permits, a list of recent research projects, or if you have any questions, please contact the Natural Areas Biologist.
Important note on timing: Allow a minimum of three weeks for your application to be processed.
Important exception: Applications for research in the seabird ecological reserves are processed once a year. Send your application to the Natural Areas Program no later than March 31. This allows timely review by the Seabird Ecological Reserves Advisory Committee. Applications are reviewed at the Committee's annual meeting each spring.
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