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At a glance

Most species were ranked as "secure" and few species have changed rank between 2005 and 2010.

In 2010, the Wild Species report assessed the general status ranks of 11,950 species.

Performance to date

  • In 2002, the Government of Canada introduced the Species at Risk Act to protect species at risk and their critical habitats. As of 2011, 616 species of animals and plants were recognized in at-risk categories (Endangered, Threatened or of Special Concern), which trigger government action to promote recovery.
  • In 2011, following extensive consultations, the Polar Bear was listed as a species of special concern on the Species at Risk Public Registry.
  • Conservation plans and strategies for 25 Bird Conservation Regions across Canada are currently being developed.
  • The government continues to lead and cooperate with provinces and territories by providing expert advice on species at risk, migratory birds and their habitats for the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring.

Remaining challenges

  • While 77% of the species assessed in 2010 were ranked "secure," 19% or more of three groups (reptiles, amphibians and freshwater mussels) were ranked as "at risk."
  • On average, Canadian breeding bird populations declined by 12% between 1970 and 2012, with greater average declines in bird species that migrate further away from Canada.

Since 1990, the protected area in Canada has nearly doubled.

Almost 10% of Canada's land is now under protection.

Marine protected areas have doubled between 2002 and 2011.

Performance to date

  • As of 2011, approximately 8 million hectares of habitat for waterfowl had been secured in Canada through the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, with 70% of the increase occurring within the last 5 years.
  • Canada designated its first Oceans Act Marine Protected Area in the Arctic (Tarium Niryutait), along with the world's first bowhead whale sanctuary, the Ninginganiq National Wildlife Area on Baffin Island in Nunavut.
  • The National Framework for Canada's Network of Marine Protected Areas was released in 2011.
  • In August 2012, the government announced the establishment of Nááts'ihch'oh National Park Reserve in Northwest Territories, protecting 70% of the upper South Nahanni watershed.
  • In 2010, the Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010 report summarized knowledge on ecosystems across Canada.

Remaining challenges

  • Less than 1% of Canada's ocean is formally protected--Canada has been ranked 70th out of 228 countries in terms of establishing marine protected areas.
  • There is variability in the pattern of protected areas in Canada, as protected areas in southern Canada tend to be small and cover a smaller proportion of ecozones than protected areas in the North.
  • The Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010 report notes at least some negative trends in all habitat types examined (i.e., forests, grasslands, wetlands, lakes and rivers, coastal, marine, and ice).

Wood supply has remained roughly constant since 1990.

From 1990 to 2010, the amount of timber harvested remained well within the supply of wood deemed sustainable for harvest.

In 2011, 72 of 155 (46%) major fish stocks assessed and reported were classified as "healthy", and 17 stocks (11%) were classified as critical.

In 2011, 137 of 155 major fish stocks were harvested at or below approved harvest limits.

Performance to date

  • Since 2009, the Sustainable Fisheries Framework has promoted a gradual improvement to the sustainable management of the fisheries. Significant progress has been made in implementing the Precautionary Approach Framework, such as developing baselines for various fish stocks.
  • Since 2007, the Forest Communities Program has helped community-based partnerships adjust to the transition of the forest sector and take advantage of emerging forest-based opportunities at 11 sites across Canada.
  • The annual State of Canada's Forest Report offers an objective assessment of Canada's forest resources and industry, and provides key facts and summaries of trends.

Remaining challenges

  • In 2011, 17 major Canadian fish stocks were classified as "critical," indicating that the productivity of the stock is considered to be at a level that may cause serious harm to the resource.
  • The forestry sector is facing significant adaptation challenges in the face of economic and environmental changes.

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