Why biodiversity is important to you: chapter 3

Conserving the biodiversity of our country

In addition to supporting education, the federal government is also taking direct action to conserve our living species and ecosystems through a combination of research, monitoring, policies, regulation, enforcement, conservation and partnership activities.

  • Since 1885, Canada has taken action to protect almost 1 million km2 of land -- nearly 10% of Canada's land mass -- and 56 000 km2 of our oceans and Great Lakes.
  • We have the best national park system in the world and have grown it by almost 50% since 2005.
  • We have expanded Nahanni National Park Reserve sixfold, and are establishing Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, in collaboration with the Haida Nation, as well as establishing a national park on Sable Island.
  • We protected and took actions that will expand the national park and marine conservation area systems by nearly 90 000 km2.
  • As of early 2011, 470 species are listed under the Species at Risk Act, which came into force to prevent Canadian species from becoming extirpated or extinct, to provide for the recovery of those that are endangered or threatened, and to encourage the management of other species to prevent them from becoming at risk.
  • Environment Canada offers many programs to enable Canadians, from businesses to local communities, to protect natural areas, species and their habitat. Hundreds of partnerships have been established with Aboriginal organizations, provinces, other federal departments, the natural resource sector, landowners, trusts and conservation organizations, and educational institutions, to conserve and protect Canada's natural spaces and wildlife.
  • We are working with a broad spectrum of partners on ecosystem initiatives to achieve environmental results and sustainable development. For instance, we are pooling resources and talents from several federal organizations to protect and restore water quality and the health of the aquatic ecosystem in the Great Lakes.
  • With 54 national wildlife areas and 92 migratory bird sanctuaries, Canada demonstrates its ongoing commitment to protecting the habitats of wildlife species. These results are possible with the contribution of conservation partners across the country.
  • Canada has the world's longest coastline. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Parks Canada and Environment Canada work in partnership to establish and manage our marine protected areas. This work protects coastal and marine habitat and species that are ecologically significant and vulnerable.
  • The Scott Islands and surrounding waters in British Columbia are home to over 2 million breeding seabirds from March to September, including the endangered Black-footed Albatross. Before long, the Scott Islands will be ready for designation as a marine national wildlife area under the Canada Wildlife Act.

Fast fact

Canada is a seasonal host to 530 species of migratory birds.

The Great Lakes provide drinking water to millions of Canadians and are a major source of economic activity.

Did you know...

The largest park in Canada is Wood Buffalo National Park, which spans 44 807 km2 of land in Alberta and the Northwest Territories. It is home to North America's largest bison herd and is the only nesting site of the endangered whooping crane.

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