Canada makes historic investments in conservation

By Laura Bies

In the last two years, Canada has dramatically increased its investment in conservation. ©USDA

A recent report from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society found that the country is making important progress towards its conservation goals.

In the report titled Government investments bring Canada closer to conservation goals, the society reported that over the 900 monitored wildlife species in Canada, half saw population declines between 1970 and 2014. Currently, over 600 species in the country are considered at risk.

In 2018, the federal government established a target to protect 25% of Canadian lands and freshwater by 2025 and 30% by 2030. The government estimates 12.2% is currently protected. Once projects already underway are completed, that number will climb to 17%, the target for this year.

Concurrent with setting those conservation goals, Canada’s federal government announced Budget 2018, which included the largest-ever investment in Canadian nature — $1.3 billion over five years, including the $175 million Challenge Fund.

The Challenge Fund provides funding for conservation projects led by provinces, territories, Indigenous Peoples and organizations in the private and nonprofit sectors. In 2018, the government received proposals totaling over $800 million. The following year, 67 projects were chosen to receive funding, including the establishment of 27 indigenous protected areas.

The federal government’s increased investment has also spurred additional conservation investments at the local and provincial level and leveraged conservation contributions by the private sector, which has reached $500 million.

In its report, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society calls on the Canadian government to continue its unprecedented investment in conservation, in order to meet — and possibly exceed — its conservation targets.

Laura BiesLaura Bies is a government relations contractor and freelance writer for The Wildlife Society. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science and a law degree from George Washington University. Laura has worked with The Wildlife Society since 2005. Read more of Laura's articles.

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