|Parks and Protected Areas
Among the greatest threats to the diversity of natural life on this planet is the loss and destruction of habitat that sustains plant and animal species.
Protected areas conserve some of our most important wild lands, thereby helping to preserve biodiversity and to maintain the natural processes that provide us with clear air and water.
According to Natural Resources Canada, about 9% of Canada's land has been set aside for protection — a small fraction of our vast country. In global terms, Canada places 13th out of 29 OECD nations, below the OECD average of 12.6%. The United States, New Zealand, Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have protected a larger proportion of their national territory than Canada. Considering only the IUCN's strict conservation categories 1-3, where industrial resource extraction is prohibited (such as logging or mining), the percentage of land protected drops to just over 4%.
Nature Canada keeps a constant watch on government promises and plans to create protected areas. We also undertake many projects that encourage the development of an effective network of parks and protected areas from coast to coast to coast.
Canadas national parks system covers 2.5 per cent of the country and protects some of our most spectacular and important landscapes. Nature Canada works to complete Canadas national parks system and to safeguard individual parks from threats to their ecological integrity.
Canadas network of national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries protects vital habitat for migratory birds and species at risk, particularly in Canadas most threatened southern landscapes. Nature Canada helps to stem the crisis facing Canadas national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries.
In 1996, Nature Canada developed its Marine Conservation Program in recognition of the fact that marine ecosystems were as affected by human activity as terrestrial ecosystems. Nature Canada lobbied to create the National Marine Conservation Areas Act, and has been working since then to ensure that Parks Canada receives the resources necessary to establish these protected areas.