Summer 2018

Newsletter Archive


Private Land Conservation and Canada's 17% Protection Target

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As our biological diversity has faced mounting threats from increasingly expansive and intensive land uses, we have all worked to be more active and strategic in protecting biodiverse areas from conversion and loss. In doing so, we have come to recognize that much of Canada's land base that is not traditionally considered "protected" actually contributes to the long-term protection of Canada's natural heritage.

So here's a question... if you were to count up all the areas in Canada protected for biodiversity, would you include privately-protected lands?

Most people would say 'yes,' but that creates more questions: What would that look like? How would you decide what does or does not count? How would you know if a private land parcel is actually biologically diverse and genuinely protected?

That's the challenge that faces us as we try and meet our commitment to the Convention on Biological Diversity to protect 17% of Canada's terrestrial land base and inland waters. But if done strategically, answering this question can inform everything from regional planning to municipal planning to the conservation planning done by land trusts.

Miistakis' new project is working to help land trusts, the Government of Alberta, and the Government of Canada (Pathway to Target 1) in their various efforts to understand that question. What we are trying to do is:

  • Improve understanding of the contribution of private land conservation to biodiversity conservation;
  • Enhance understanding of how private land conservation can contribute to initiatives like Pathway to Target 1
  • Better-inform inclusion of private land conservation in local and regional planning initiatives; and
  • Increase ability of land trusts to promote their work and secure additional biodiverse lands.

We will be providing our recommendations directly into the land use planning initiatives, land trust operations, and Pathway to Target 1 process.

Stay tuned for our final report out later this year.

In the meantime, the following video clip is a short presentation explaining the issues in blending private land conservation, biodiversity conservation, and our traditional concept of a 'protected area.'