Canada’s Efforts in Conservation

by Andriwagner on October 7, 2017 - 10:34pm

Canada’s Efforts in Conservation

In 2017 Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) reviewed Canada’s progress in their commitment to the 2010 United Nations Convention on Biodiversity.  The goal is to slow the progression of fresh water and land degradation by increasing the amount of protected land nation wide to 17 percent by 2020.  Currently, Canada holds 20 percent of Earths forests, and 24 percent of fresh water.  According to CPAWS, Canada is lagging in their commitments.  Canada has increased their protected land by exactly 1 percent from 9.6 to 10.6 in ten years.  This pales in comparison to the other top G7 countries such as Germany who has 38.7 percent of their land protected.

Canada recognizes the importance of protecting our natural habitats in order to ensure the survival of not only endangered species but humans as well.  However, according to Eric Herbert-Daly, CPAWS national executive director, the problem lies within the lack of political will, the nations mentality, and ownership of responsibility.

Since the report, some headway has been made.  For the first time since 2010 environmental ministers from provinces and territories have met with Catherine McKenna, the federal environmental minister, to discuss how to reach the 2020 goal of 17 percent in protected lands.  The meeting signifies the beginning of a shift to a connected network rather than a separate collection of protected areas.  This connection will help in mitigating climate change, by promoting complexity in ecosystems.  Other efforts to reach this goal have included the implementation of government advisory panels for scientific sectors, and an Indigenous Circle of Experts.  These are all positive aspects showcasing how Canada is making an effort to expand the area of protected land.  Eric Herbert-Daly of CPAWS is confident that the goal of 17 percent is still attainable by 2020, but reiterates that this is more of a milestone than an end goal. 

I believe this article expresses how Canada has a lot of work to do in order to achieve 17 percent of protected land and water areas, from our 10.6 percent current standing.  It explains where our slow progress may stem from, the absence of environmental stewardships, and the lack of clarity with regards to role of the state.  I also believe Canada is lagging due to lack of incentives, and a conflict in interest over land use.  Preserving lands eliminates the potential for swift economic growth through the exploitation of these resources i.e. logging or commercial fishing.  We have seen little change in the last ten years because Canada capitalizes on profits from forestry, and protecting more of them will inhibit their exploitation. 

I trust that the proactive stance environmental ministers have begun to take such as assembling a panel on science and an Indigenous Circle of Experts which will include their traditional knowledge is a beneficial one.  From this step in the right direction it will ensure proper consultation with aboriginals so to not infringe on their rights. In bridging government and Indigenous relationships by incorporating their Indigenous knowledge to expanding protected areas will lead to appease the aboriginal communities.  I think this is important because Indigenous peoples have greater knowledge of proper land management use and avoid the idea of knowledge being stuck at a certain point in time and instead move and shape their way of life with the land.  Through all these initiatives I think Canada is making a solid effort to deviate from their slow progress and this article does a good job to explain all of this. 

(Link to article)




Hi Andriwagner,
I must say that I really like the topic you chose for your post. It is a subject that really resonates with me. I was surprised to see that in Canada we only managed to protect 10.6% of our land; and that we only increased 1% in a decade. I have to say that I also like how you compared it to other countries, especially Germany. What I thought was interesting however would be to compared both protected land masses. I thought it was interesting to see that Germany protects over 38% of its land, but how much is this 38% in km2? Maybe that our 10% in Canada is more km2 than the total km2 in Germany.
Anyways, I have been doing some research on my side I thought it might interest you. I ended up on a website of an organization called SNAP Quebec. This organization is owned by SNAP Canada which has for goal to create protected areas in the province of Quebec in order to protect the fauna and flora. Many of their accomplished projects are listed on their website. Plus, what I find really interesting about this organization is that you can do many different things as a volunteer. Now the bad side to this is that at the moment the volunteer opportunities are pretty limited, but the moment you get your foot in the door, the list becomes pretty much endless. If ever you become interested, I invite you to go to their website and look it up. You can register to volunteer from that same link.

SNAP Quebec (2017) Société pour la Nature et les Parcs du Canada. In: SNAP Quebec. Accessed 12 Oct 2017