Federal Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures in Canada—for land


Map of eastern Canada showing locations for five new Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures on federally-managed properties.
New Federal Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures

Canada’s conservation network is as diverse as it is unique—and it consists of more than just national wildlife areas and national parks. The Government of Canada is recognizing lands and waters managed in ways that achieve the conservation of biodiversity, but are not protected areas or parks.

Even if conservation is not the primary objective of an area, it can still achieve long-term benefits for nature. These areas might include portions of native prairie grasslands managed for beef production, or watershed protection areas around major metropolitan areas. Called Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs), these areas are effectively achieving the same conservation outcomes as protected areas and parks.

In 2018, the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity agreed on guiding principles, common characteristics and criteria for the identification of OECMs which Canada has adopted.

Environment and Climate Change Canada works with partners to recognize OECMs: areas that achieve the conservation of biodiversity, regardless of their primary purpose. Recognizing OECMs and adding them to the Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database to gain a clearer, more holistic picture of the Canadian conservation network is a key pillar of Canada’s plan to conserve 25 percent of land, inland water, and oceans by 2025, working toward 30 percent by 2030.

A number of Government of Canada departments, agencies, and commissions manage land in ways that achieve the conservation of biodiversity. Assessing these lands and including them in Canada’s database demonstrates leadership in support of domestic and international conservation commitments.

Parks Canada

Beaubears Island—Site of Boishébert and Beaubears Island Shipbuilding National Historic Sites: 72 hectares

Boishébert National Historic Site, which includes Beaubears Island in Miramichi, New Brunswick, was designated a national historic site in 2000 to commemorate its significant role as a place of refuge for Acadians following the 1755 Deportation. Beaubears Island Shipbuilding National Historic Site was designated in 2002 for its association with the 19th century shipbuilding industry of the Maritimes.

Beaubears Island largely consists of old growth forest ecosystems. The site supports rare occurrences of remnant, relatively undisturbed stands, providing habitat for various species of wildlife and species of conservation concern that require mature old-growth forest. These forest stands offer a glimpse into the composition and structure of natural late-seral and climax Acadian forest ecosystems, while providing a useful yardstick by which to gauge the evolution of more disturbed forest communities elsewhere in northeastern New Brunswick. The site supports three species at risk: the olive-sided flycatcher (Contopus cooperi), threatened under the Canada Species at Risk Act (SARA); the eastern wood-pewee (Contopus virens); and the monarch (Danaus plexippus), both considered species of special concern.

Learn more: Boishébert and Beaubears Island Shipbuilding National Historic Sites

Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site: 5,922 hectares

The Fortress of Louisbourg brings visitors back to French colonial life in Nova Scotia between 1713 and 1758. First the home of L’nu, also known as the Mi’kmaq, the 18th century brought French, Basque, German, English, Irish, Scottish, and African people to its shores. The Fortress of Louisbourg is of national historic significance because, between 1713 and 1768, it was a place of profound significance in the Franco-British struggle for the empire, leading to its designation as a national historic site in 1920.

The Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site supports occurrences of several federally-listed species at risk including two bats—the little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus), and the northern myotis (Myotis septentrionalis)—both endangered under SARA, as well as bank swallows (Riparia riparia) and barn swallows (Hirundo rustica)—both threatened. The 5,920 hectares of the site being reported as an OECM is entirely in natural ecosystem cover, a mix of intact rocky coastline and headlands, coastal barrens, coniferous forest, and wetland ecosystems, with a full range of native species and supporting ecological processes characteristic of the region. The national historic site is also contiguous with the Stillwaters Wilderness Area, managed by the province of Nova Scotia. Together, these areas help protect the drinking water supply for the nearby town of Louisbourg.

Learn more: Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site

Natural Resources Canada

Acadia Research Forest: 9,000 hectares

Located 20 km northeast of Fredericton, New Brunswick, the Acadia Research Forest (ARF) is one of the oldest and longest-running research forests in Canada. The ARF is a living laboratory with a long legacy of providing scientific data to researchers, scientists, and the forest sector, studying silviculture, climate change, enhanced forest inventory, biodiversity, species at risk, and forest health. The primary objectives of the ARF are to maintain the forest to represent the Acadian forest region for current and future research opportunities, as well as to maintain the forest’s health and biodiversity. It contains hundreds of research sites, and 11 ecological reserves representing natural forest conditions common to the Acadian forest region. Sustainable forest management is practiced and demonstrated on the portion of the forest that is not designated for research, which includes the protection of wildlife habitats (aquatic and wetlands), and species at risk.

Learn more: Acadia Research Forest

Laurentian Forestry Centre: 22 hectares

The Serge-Légaré Arboretum is part of the Laurentian Forestry Centre outside of Quebec City. The site is entirely wooded with white pine, Norway spruce, and white spruce, and other species that vary according to research needs. Bordered by farmland and a large natural forest, the site serves as a transition zone or natural corridor, a temporary or permanent refuge, and provides connectivity for several animals such as white-tailed deer, birds of prey, migratory birds, and bats. By managing the site and maintaining a healthy forest for research purposes, biodiversity is preserved as a by-product of management.

Learn more: Laurentian Forestry Centre

National Research Council of Canada

Ketch Harbour Marine Research Station: 95 hectares

For nearly 50 years, the National Research Council of Canada has been growing microalgae, seaweeds, and other marine and freshwater organisms at the Marine Research Station in Ketch Harbour, Nova Scotia. The property is located along the east coast of Ketch Harbour, on a parcel of land that is significant for migratory birds. The research facility occupies only a small portion of the site, allowing the majority of the area to be protected.

Learn more: Ketch Harbour Marine Research Station

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