Research Theme Profile - Private Land Conservation
Why This is One of Our Themes
Much of the land critical for wildlife habitat, water cycling, nutrient flows and other ecological processes across the broad landscape is privately held. Landowners, land trusts, municipalities, provincial agencies, and other groups are working to ensure critical parcels of land continue to play these important roles. Their success depends on having access to science, tools and expertise that can support their work.
Since our inception, Miistakis has supported both the individual organizations and the private land conservation community, including landowners, by providing research services, tools, resources, and planning, management and policy assistance. We are fortunate to have several staff members with a long history in private land conservation.
What We've Been Doing
The core of our private land conservation work has been providing support to organizations, agencies and individuals. Recently we worked with the Government of Alberta, developing a tool for comparatively assessing applications to their Land Trust Grants program. Working with the Southern Alberta Land Trust Society, we developed critical background information for understanding the connectivity needs and land conservation options in the Rock Creek Corridor. Our on-going work providing mapping and technical support to baseline reports is perhaps the longest-running aspect of our private land conservation work.
Miistakis regularly undertakes targeted research regarding private land conservation. Working with the Environmental Law Centre, Miistakis recently conducted reviews of the conservation easement for agriculture policy at the request of the Alberta Land Use Secretariat and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. We have also conducted an assessment of the land securement potential in the Crowsnest Pass.
Miistakis is often sought out to provide facilitation in the land trust community. We worked with Alberta Environment and other partners to establish the Alberta Land Trust Alliance. In 2011, we were asked to convene a meeting of the Alberta land trust community, seeking out common routes for promoting private land conservation.
As a result of the knowledge base of Miistakis staff, we are often in a position to provide training opportunities. We have developed a workshop series for municipalities to understand the private land conservation tools in the Alberta Land Stewardship Act.
Recently, we were able to provide a "Hard and Soft Skills of Private Land Conservation" workshop for residents of the Bow Valley in Canmore.
As with many of our research themes, Miistakis focuses on the creation of tools to help our partners. Working with the Foothills Land Trust, we created an online conservation management tool. Recently, we launched a web-based directory of conservation easement programs.
What's Coming Up
There are several exciting projects on the horizon. We are currently working with the Environmental Law Centre to create a comprehensive guide to understanding and using conservation easements. In the fall, we are partnering with Mount Royal University Continuing Education to deliver a webinar series on private land conservation. Finally, we are commencing a new research area looking specifically at municipalities, exploring how they can better use conservation easements, and how the property taxation system can be a barrier and a catalyst for conserving private lands.