Victoria

Victoria

Case Study by: Austin Perez Victoria, the capital city of the province of British Columbia, is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off of the western coast of Canada. The Victoria region, known as the Capital Regional District (CRD), has a population of 375,000 people, making it the 15th most populous metropolitan area in Canada. The region is well known for its beautiful architecture with a distinct British influence reminiscent of the Victorian era, and is renowned for its lush gardens and green spaces scattered all over the region. With its dense forests, picturesque coastline, and abundant greenery, the CRD is highly regarded for its natural beauty. Like a growing number of other regions around the world, the CRD places a major emphasis on promoting sustainability, ecological integrity, and the conservation of its natural environment. However, the CRD has gone above and beyond the norm in developing its regional conservation strategy by creating a unique policy that features an extraordinary commitment to examining the application of the Nature Needs Half vision by promoting ecological connectivity and striving to manage at least half of the region’s land and water base for the conservation of nature. Victoria City View © Ron Niebrugge The CRD has developed a policy entitled the Regional Parks Strategic Plan for 2012-2021 (RPSP), which is a management strategy for the region’s parks and trails for the next ten years. The RPSP and its budget have now been formally approved by the CRD Board of Directors and placed into effect, giving the CRD a unique and progressive policy that emphasizes connectivity and ecosystem health in a...
Plan Nord

Plan Nord

In August of 2011, the Quebec government said it plans “to dedicate 50% of the territory of the Plan Nord to protecting the environment, safeguarding biodiversity and developing the natural heritage, as well as to various types of development that do not rely on industrial activities.” And, they committed to a public comment period to get feedback. In case you’re unfamiliar with northern Quebec….that’s A LOT OF LAND!  Here’s a map of what that looks like: A few quick facts about Quebec’s North * Located above the 49th parallel, the total area of the Plan Nord is 1,200,000 sq km, which represents 72% of the province; * 26% of the land is already in dedicated to industry, forestry, mining exploration and energy, mainly hydro-electric; * 9.15 % of the north is already protected through various designations; * 4 aboriginal nations live there: the Crees, the Inuit, the Naskapi and the Innu; * The north is entirely covered in Boreal Zone, which includes the forest blanket, the Taiga and the Tundra areas; * Quebec Boreal forest blanket represents a quarter of Canada’s remaining boreal ecosystem and covers half a million km2; * The Boreal Zone are globally important because of their unique ecosystem traits and their role in storing carbon; and, * Areas North of the 49th parallel have world-class tourism potential for development. The Plan Nord is also, a sustainable development plan, as the Quebec government is not only committed to protect 50% of the land; it is also working on finding a balance with economic development base on natural resource exploitation. At the moment: * Nearly 160,000 mineral...
Canada: Over a Decade of Work

Canada: Over a Decade of Work

“Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the recent surge in wilderness protection in Canada has been a fairly broad public consensus that landscape conservation at a major scale needs to be implemented,” Harvey Locke, International Journal of Wilderness, April 2009 Since early 2000, Canada has recognized the importance of protected at least half and is actively working to reach this goal. Collaborative efforts between government, First Nations, environmental groups and responsible corporations have rallied for the protection of nature and have had many successes, outlined below. Conservation groups, scientists, various governments and civil society aligning their visions In 2003, the Boreal Conservation Framework was signed by a variety First Nations, resource companies, and conservation groups. Its goal is to protect at least 50% of the boreal forest and ensure that world-class standards are applied to extractive activities on the rest. This was based on the best scientific information available about what truly effective conservation would require. The boreal forest represents over 60% of the land mass in Canada. In 2005, The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) Canada’s leading wilderness conservation group confirmed its national conservation vision for Canada’s Wilderness calling for the protection of at least 50% of Canada’s wilderness lands, seas and fresh water bodies. In May 2007, more than 1,500 scientists from around the world endorsed the Boreal Conservation Framework’s vision of protecting at least half of the boreal ecosystem in Canada in an interconnected way. Scientists helped to define the map to success by highlighting the focus on: Representing all native ecosystem types in a system of protected areas Maintaining viable populations of all native...
Dehcho First Nations

Dehcho First Nations

A plan to protect at least half The Dehcho is an area of 220,000 sq km located in the Northwest Territories of Canada on the Mackenzie (Deh Cho) River, an area of boreal forest and mountains that are larger than many countries. The Dehcho First Nations are Dene people who have occupied their homeland for time immemorial. Some elders were born on the land and our Slavey language is still spoken. Traditional harvesting activity remains an important economic and cultural pursuit. There is great pressure for industrial development including a major gas pipeline and mining activity. The land is of paramount importance to our people. We have rights protected under section 35 of Canada’s Constitution Act and are engaged in a process with the Government of Canada that addresses the future of our land that will result in a Treaty. Our wilderness conservation efforts began with a traditional areas mapping exercise in which we consulted our people on the areas that were important to their traditional use. We then had that material digitized using western science. The resulting map showed core areas and connecting corridors which we wish to conserve for our people’s traditional use and the protection of the land. We then negotiated with Canada for that area to be withdrawn from further industrial dispositions during our process. We are looking at a variety of legal instruments for permanent protection including working with Parks Canada to have the entire South Nahanni watershed and Ram Plateau (an area of 36,000 sq km.) protected as an expanded national park under Canada’s National Parks Act which we would jointly manage. This...
Peel River Watershed – Canada

Peel River Watershed – Canada

Conservation Groups & First Nations aim for more than HALF! Canada’s Peel River Watershed, encompassing 14% of the Yukon Territory, is one of the largest and most beautiful intact natural ecosystems left in North America. However, industrial development (particularly in the form of roads and exploration for minerals, oil, and gas) threatens to fragment this stunning landscape and harm its delicate ecological balance.  Protect the Peel is working to ensure the long-term protection of this magnificent landscape. Located at the northern end of the Rocky and Mackenzie Mountains chain, this spectacular region is defined by a constellation of wild rivers: the Peel, Ogilvie, Blackstone, Hart, Wind, Snake and Bonnet Plume. One of Canada’s most striking mountain river watersheds, the Peel is the heart of a great boreal and sub-arctic ecosystem with a long cultural history, free-ranging wildlife and a rugged northern beauty. It is a global benchmark of predator-prey ecosystems within a vast primeval wilderness. Sprawling over 43,000 square miles, the Peel Watershed dwarfs many famous landscapes– such as Banff and Yellowstone national parks – in size, unspoiled splendour, and ecological integrity. The World Wildlife Fund ranked the Peel among the top 200 conservation priorities in the world, and it is part of the Canadian Boreal Initiative campaign to protect at least 50% of the North American boreal forest. The watershed is the northern anchor of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, a broad-based international project to protect ecosystem connections for wildlife. Wildlife includes a host of high-profile species, such as grizzly bears, wolverines, wolves, Dall’s sheep and caribou that are at risk elsewhere. Extensive wetlands are essential as...