Canadian Biodiversity Strategy: Canada’s Response to the Convention on Biological Diversity, 1995
The Biodiversity Outcomes Framework: Building on a Decade of Federal–Provincial–Territorial Cooperation 2006 Canada
has approximately 3.48 million km2 of forest – representing 38% of the country’s total land area and 10% of the world’s forest cover – as well as another 409 thousand km2 of other wooded land and 85 thousand km2 of other land with tree cover. Deforestation (the conversion of forest to non-forest land uses due to human activity) resulted in the loss of about 12,100 km2 (1,210,000 hectares (ha)) of forested land between 1990 and 2012 or about 0.33% of Canada’s total forest area. An average of 485 km2 (48,500 ha) was lost annually between 2008 and 2012, compared to about 640 km2 in 1990.
As of December 2013, Canada has protected 1,036,645 km2 (10.4%) of its terrestrial area and inland water and 51,485 km2 (0.9%) of its marine area.
National biodiversity expenditure
, the Canadian Government announced new funding totaling $17.5 million over five years to protect the Great Lakes from the threat of Asian carp. Similarly, in order to help protect marine and freshwater systems against invasive species, Canada augmented its support in enforcement and monitoring of ballast water regulations and increased ballast water inspection capacity in the Arctic. The Saskatchewan government will provide up to $1.1 million over the next year as part of a partnership agreement with Alberta to help prevent the spread of the Mountain pine beetle into northern forests. Between 2005 and 2012, the federal Invasive Alien Species Partnership Program supported 170 projects totaling nearly $5.6 Million in funding to engage Canadians in actions to prevent, detect, and manage invasive alien species.
The New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund was established in 1997 to further wild life conservation in the province. The fund is managed by the NB Wildlife Council, a group of 17 volunteers appointed by the Minister of Natural Resources. These dedicated individuals represent a wide range of wild life interests: hunters, fishers, trappers, naturalists, environmentalists and First Nations. The main source of revenue for the fund is a conservation fee applied to all hunting, fishing and trapping licenses. Additional monies come from New Brunswickers that pay a little extra to buy specialized “conservation” license plates for their vehicles. Individuals and corporations can also donate directly. The fund contributes almost 1 million dollars per year to successful applicants for project related to fish and wildlife population and habitat enhancement, education and science. Between 1997 and 2011, the Wildlife Trust Fund supported over 1,200 conservation projects.
Official development assistance
Canada submitted to the CBD Secretariat a report on resources mobilized by Canada for biodiversity: 2006 to 2010. The document provided an estimate of Canadian public and private contributions to biodiversity resource mobilization, using a diverse range of publicly-available and published source data and information. The report estimated that annual Canadian public and private financial flows related to the objectives of the CBD range between $8.45 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2006-2007 to $9.48 billion in FY 2010-2011, with a five-year average of $9.17 billion. Additionally, the report estimated that Canada had provided an estimated average of $83.17 million annually from FY 2006-2007 to 2010-2011 in Official Development Assistance to support developing countries’ efforts under the CBD.
Canada assesses all of its development assistance activities for potential risks and opportunities with respect to environmental sustainability and works with its partner countries to ensure that they have the capacity to do the same. This support includes enhancing partners' abilities to manage natural resources and address issues such as desertification and climate change. Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) protects and enhances biodiversity through its food security programming by supporting sustainable seed banks and agricultural research.
Triangular and South-South Cooperation
Global Environment Facility
Markets and non-governmental sector
Natural Areas Conservation Program
: In 2007, the Government of Canada allocated $225 million over five years for the Natural Areas Conservation Program, which has helped the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and other non-profit non-government organizations secure and ensure the protection of ecologically significant land in southern Canada. In 2013, the federal government invested an additional $20 million in the Program. As of December, 2013, over 3,690 km2 had been conserved through the Program. Areas protected through the program appear in every province and provide habitat for at least 160 species at risk as well as many other species. Ecological Gifts Program
: The federal and some provincial governments offer tax benefits for land donations under initiatives such as the Ecological Gifts Program. The Ecological Gifts Program encourages Canadians to donate ecologically significant land for conservation. As of December 2013, over 1,050 ecological gifts valued at more than $640 million have been donated, protecting over 1,500 km2 (150,000 ha) of wildlife habitat across Canada. More than one-third of these ecological gifts contain areas designated as being of national or provincial significance, and many are home to some of Canada’s species at risk. Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk
: Since its inception in 2000, the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk has supported local and community organizations in securing over 1,730 km2 (173,000 ha) of habitat. Another 2,000 to 3,000 km2 (200,000 to 300,000 ha) of habitat are afforded temporary protection under voluntary conservation agreements with landowners on an annual basis. In addition, the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk program helps to build capacity and protect and recover critical habitat or habitat important for species at risk on First Nations reserves or on lands and waters traditionally used by Aboriginal peoples. Ontario’s Species at Risk Stewardship Fund supports Ontario’s efforts under the Ontario Endangered Species Act to protect and recover listed species and their habitats. The fund is available to individuals and groups, including landowners and farmers, Aboriginal communities, academic institutions, industries, municipalities and conservation organizations. In 2013/14, $5 million in funding was provided for 75 new projects and 32 multi-year projects. Since its inception, the project has helped restore more than 240 km2 (24,000 ha) of important habitat and more than 200 different species at risk, while also supporting 2,100 jobs and an estimated 256,600 hours of volunteer work in Ontario communities. Reverse auction
: In Saskatchewan, Ducks Unlimited Canada has led an innovative “reverse auction” to pay landowners for restoring wetlands in their fields and pastures, as a mechanism to restore 560 km2 (56,000 ha) of wetlands over 20 years. The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA)
: is a private agreement, signed in May 2010, which currently includes 19 forest companies, who are members of the Forest Products Association of Canada, and 7 environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs). It seeks to develop a new model of collaboration among these parties to enable a stronger, more competitive forest industry as well as a better protected, more sustainably managed boreal forest. National Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) Initiative
: In April 2003, Canada launched a National Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) Initiative, which includes a set of nationally consistent principles and program elements for EFP programs across the country. An EFP is a voluntarily prepared, formal written assessment of environmental issues or risks on a farm such as soil erosion, potential sources of water contamination or pesticide drift. An EFP contains an action plan detailing the beneficial management practices (BMP) that should be put in place to mitigate or eliminate those risks. These potential on-farm agri-environmental risks and practices are identified by the farmer in consultation with agrologists, EFP facilitators/coordinators, and supporting materials (e.g., EFP workbooks and reference manuals). In 2011, 35% of Canadian farms had a formal Environmental Farm Plans (compared to 27% in 2006), while 2% indicated they were in the process of developing their EFP (Figure 33). Of the farms with an EFP, the majority (95%) had either fully or partially implemented the practices recommended in their EFP. Species at Risk Farm Incentive Program (SARFIP)
. Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Government of Canada, and administered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, SARFIP provides cost-share funding for best management practices that promote the protection of species at risk and habitats on privately-owned Ontario farms. While encouraging land owners to protect species, it also recognizes the need for sustainable production and profitability. Eligible activities include controlling the spread of invasive plants, protecting or restoring habitats for at-risk species, managing erosion damage along riverbanks, and improving pest management. The Canadian Business and Biodiversity Council (CBBC)
: is an initiative involving business, government, non-government organizations and academia arising from recommendations by industry and government leaders. Operational support for the initiative comes primarily from Canadian businesses. The role of the CBBC is to assist Canadian businesses in conserving biodiversity and maintaining ecosystem services in Canada and globally, by encouraging good environmental stewardship practices based on sound science, by sharing best practices and lessons learned, and by showcasing successful results.
Through its Towards Sustainable Mining Initiative
, Mining Association of Canada members are required to publicly report annually on their environmental performance at the facility level (for Canadian operations), using specific indicators related to tailings management and biodiversity conservation management. ATCO Electric
was one of the first utilities in Canada to formalize an avian protection initiative. In 2012, the company retrofitted existing power line structures in south-eastern Alberta to reduce the number of bird electrocutions. In 2011, FortisBC
partnered with Columbia Power Corporation to expand the geographic scope of Umatilla dace research that BC Hydro initiated in the Columbia watershed. In 2011, Nova Scotia Power
and the provincial Department of Natural Resources signed a collaborative agreement to monitor 10 lakes identified as critical habitat for the Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora, a group of 90 species of taxonomically unrelated wetland plants that inhabit lake and river shores, bogs, fens, and estuaries. Syngenta Crop Protection Canada
, Inc. and the Fondation de la faune du Québec are partners in the Operation Pollinator program. The Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association
, through Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) of California, has developed a third party certification program of its peatland management practices.
Canada continues to operate the Environmental Valuation Reference Inventory (EVRI)
, the largest and most globally-oriented information system of environmental valuation studies. Over 1,400 studies have been added to the database since 2010, bringing the total number of records to over 3,600, many of which are directly related to biodiversity.
The collapse of the cod fishery in Newfoundland in the 1990s resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and the costs of income assistance and retraining reached an estimated $2 billion.
A study of the ecosystems neighboring Vancouver, a city with a population of 2.5 million, estimated the non-market value of ecosystems to provide services such as climate regulation ($1.7 billion), water supply ($1.6 billion), flood regulation ($1.2 billion), clean air ($409 million), waste treatment ($48 million), pollination ($248 million), salmon habitat ($1.3 million), recreation and tourism ($119 million), and local food production ($24 million) (Wilson, 2010). When estimates were summed over the study area (13 600 km2) the authors calculated the total non-market value of selected ecosystem services as $5.4 billion per year (all values in CDN 2005 dollars). The analysis used primarily cost-based methods and the authors note that these estimates are preliminarily and likely conservative (Wilson, 2010).
Another report assessed services provided by ecosystems of the Greater Golden Horseshoe region of southern Ontario, an area of rapid urban expansion and home to about 25% of Canada’s population (Wilson, 2013). The study focused on selected ecosystem services benefits from natural capital in 940 km2 of rural and agricultural lands designated for development. Estimates were provided for annual non-market values for a selection of ecosystem services generated by wetlands ($39.1 million), forests ($28.6 million), croplands ($28 million), and idle land ($20.5 million), among others. The summed estimate for the study area was $122.3 million per year (all values in CDN 2013 dollars).
Ecosystem services assessments have been carried out by governments in Canada in support of regulatory process, environmental assessment, policy development, and management strategies. For example, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment developed a guidance document in 2010 to help jurisdictions integrate water valuation information into decision-making for water management issues. The Province of Alberta undertook a pilot project (2010-2011) to improve methods for interdisciplinary ecosystem services assessment through which they demonstrated the use of an ecosystem services approach to support wetland management and decision-making; provided information to support potential compensation decisions related to development; and identified information and capacity gaps for future ecosystem services assessment. In 2013 the federal government used a values transfer approach to estimate an economic value for species preservation in the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement for the greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), a nationally-listed species at risk. In another case, the Province of Prince Edward Island partnered with four non-government organizations and businesses for a pilot study aimed at reducing agriculture-related erosion, improving water quality, improving/increasing wildlife habitat, and reducing impacts of climate change. Ultimately the pilot resulted in a voluntary “payment for ecosystem services” (PES) program to support best practices (Lantz et al., 2009). The Alternative Land Use Services PES program has been measurably successful in meeting its objectives, leading to its extended renewal from 2013 through 2018 (PEI, 2013).
The Measuring Ecosystem Goods and Services (MEGS) initiative among seven federal government departments and agencies between 2011 and 2013 was designed to develop statistical capacity to measure, map, and value natural capital and ecosystem services in support of national-scale accounting as well as regulatory analysis (Statistics Canada, 2013). Key outcomes include development of the MEGS geodatabase, and a land cover analysis showing a decrease in deciduous and mixed forest cover of 4% between 2001 and 2011 across Canada and significant conversion of prime agricultural land and natural areas to built settlement. A case study in the 22.3 km2 Thousand Islands National Park identified pressures on the ecosystem due to human activity, habitat fragmentation and loss, introduction of exotic species, and pollution. The case study also estimated monetary values for ecosystem services7 flows in the park, at between $12.5- $14.7 million (CDN 2012 dollars) using two different approaches to transfer values from existing studies of other locations (value transfer method) (Statistics Canada, 2013).
In 2013 Statistics Canada adopted an environmental statistics framework based on the concept of natural capital. Statistics Canada currently measures selected stocks and flows related to natural capital in physical terms and, where feasible and appropriate, in monetary terms. They maintain a set of extensive, geo-referenced, national-scale databases on land cover and land use, fresh water resources, timber, and agriculture. These databases make it possible to measure and produce map layers of individual elements of Canada’s natural capital. This work is ongoing and is already being published in sources such as the Human Activity and the Environment and Envirostats reports. Additional progress on ecosystem services data will focus on freshwater, building on existing national data on the renewal of freshwater.
Statistics Canada has been working with partner departments to implement its new Framework for Environmental Statistics. This includes working towards implementing the United Nations recommendations on Environmental – Economic Accounting (UN SEEA Central Framework), and working with the federal policy departments and the international community to develop guidelines and data for ecosystem accounts (UN SEEA EEA). As a result, new data series have been made available recently. For example, data on land cover, biomass, wetland extent, natural land parcel size and ecosystem goods and services valuation are now available.