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Conserving lands and waters

Goal 6: Ecosystem/habitat conservation and protection – Maintain productive and resilient ecosystems with the capacity to recover and adapt; and protect areas in ways that leave them unimpaired for present and future generations.

Progress towards Goal 6: Total protected area as proportion of national territory – includes land and marine area

Since 1990, the overall protected area in Canada has nearly doubled, with close to 10% of land now under protection. This is an area close to the size of Ontario.

 

The Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010 report listed 20 key findings, on the health of Canada's ecosystems. Of these findings, some 22% were rated as "impaired," 50% were "of concern," 18% were "healthy," and 10% were undetermined.

Since 1990, the overall protected area in Canada has nearly doubled, with close to 10% of land now under protection. This is an area close to the size of Ontario. As of 2011, 9.9% (991 482 km2 ) of Canada's land area and about 0.70% (49 333 km2) of its marine territory, including the extended continental shelf, have been protected. Marine protected areas have doubled between 2002 and 2011.

Based on internationally recognized definitions, protected areas are classified according to their management objective. As of 2011, 94% of protected lands in Canada were classified as "strictly protected." In the remaining 6%, limited use such as logging, fishing or very limited non-renewable resource extraction is permitted even though nature conservation remains the major goal.

Achievements over the last few years include the expansion of Nahanni National Park Reserve within the Dehcho region in 2009, increasing its size six-fold, and the establishment of Sable Island as a national park reserve in 2011. More recently, the government announced the establishment of Nááts'ihch'oh National Park Reserve in Northwest Territories, protecting 70% of the upper South Nahanni watershed.

Among the new protected areas under discussion is a national urban park in the Rouge Valley in Ontario. Progress is also being made towards establishing national parks in four unrepresented terrestrial natural regions, namely: East Coast Boreal (Mealy Mountains), Western High Arctic (Bathurst Island), Northwestern Boreal Uplands (Thaidene Nene in the East Arm of Great Slave Lake) and Manitoba Lowlands (Manitoba Lowlands).

Figure 4.3 demonstrates the increasing proportion of area protected in Canada between 1990 and 2011.

Figure 4.3: Trends in proportion of area protected in Canada, 1990–2011

Trends in proportion of area protected in Canada, 1990-2011

Long Description

The upper line of the graph shows the percent of terrestrial and freshwater area protected in Canada between 1990 and 2011. The lower line of the graph shows the percentage of marine area protected between 1990 and 2011. As of 2011, 9.9% (991 482 square kilometres) of Canada's land area and about 0.70% (49 333 square kilometres) of its marine territory have been protected. In the last 20 years, the total area protected has increased by 95%, and in the last 5 years it has increased by 19%.

Compared with 10 industrialized countries using international data, Canada ranked fourth in total land area protected, behind the United States, Russia and Australia. In the establishment of marine Protected Areas, Canada was ranked 70 out of 228 countries.

Figure 4.4 indicates the protected areas in Canada, by type.

For the most up-to-date information on these indicators, please visit CESI.

Figure 4.4: Protected areas in Canada, 2011

Protected areas in Canada, 2011

Long Description

The map of Canada shows the locations of Canada's protected areas. Terrestrial protected areas are well distributed across Canada. Northern regions have generally fewer but larger protected areas. Marine protected areas are found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans.

Progress towards Goal 6: Status of key findings related to the health of Canada’s ecosystems

Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010 reported the first ecosystem-level assessment of Canada's biodiversity and presented its results through key findings representing the most comprehensive compilation to date of the results of Canada's ecosystem-level biodiversity research and monitoring. Some findings reveal that much of Canada's natural endowment remains healthy, including large tracks of undisturbed wilderness, internationally significant wetlands and thriving estuaries, particularly in sparsely populated or less accessible areas. However, these key findings should not be interpreted as a direct and complete indicator of overall ecosystem health in Canada.

The Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010 report listed 20 key findings on the health of Canada's ecosystems. As shown in Figure 4.5, some 22% were rated as "impaired," 50% were "of concern," 18% were "healthy," and 10% were "undetermined."

Of the 20 key findings, 25% showed improvement or little change, with 58% getting worse, and 17% unknown.

For the most up-to-date information on this indicator, please visit CESI.

Figure 4.5: Status of key findings related to the health of Canada's ecosystems

Status of key findings related to the health of Canada's ecosystems

Long Description

The pie chart shows the status of key findings related to the health of Canada's ecosystems from the report entitled Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010. Of the report's 20 key findings covered by the Status of Canada's Ecosystems indicator, the pie shows that 22% were rated as impaired, 50% were rated as of concern, 18% were rated as healthy, and 10% were rated as undetermined.

 

Of the 20 key findings, 25% showed improvement or little change, with 58% getting worse, and 17% unknown.


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