Canada's conserved areas

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Well-managed conserved areas help preserve species and their habitats for present and future generations by reducing direct human development stresses. Conserved areas play a vital role in conserving Canada's nature. They also provide opportunities for people to connect with nature. The indicators track the amount and proportion of area conserved in Canada.

National

National conserved areas

Key results

  • At the end of 2019, Canada had
    • 12.1% of its terrestrial area (land and freshwater) conserved, including 11.4% in protected areas
    • 13.8% of its marine territory conserved, including 8.9% in protected areas

Proportion of area conserved, Canada, 1990 to 2019

Proportion of area conserved, Canada, 1990 to 2019 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Proportion of area conserved, Canada, 1990 to 2019
Year Terrestrial area protected
(square kilometres)
Percentage of terrestrial area protected Terrestrial area conserved
(square kilometres)
Percentage of terrestrial area conserved Marine area protected
(square kilometres)
Percentage of marine area protected Marine area conserved
(square kilometres)
Percentage of marine area conserved
1990 547 869 5.5 576 542 5.8 18 478 0.32 20 356 0.35
1991 548 374 5.5 577 046 5.8 18 497 0.32 20 375 0.35
1992 563 799 5.6 592 471 5.9 18 921 0.33 20 800 0.36
1993 578 451 5.8 607 123 6.1 19 167 0.33 21 045 0.37
1994 581 971 5.8 610 643 6.1 19 171 0.33 21 050 0.37
1995 613 633 6.1 642 305 6.4 20 939 0.36 22 818 0.40
1996 631 255 6.3 659 927 6.6 21 800 0.38 23 678 0.41
1997 643 243 6.4 680 878 6.8 21 823 0.38 23 701 0.41
1998 672 302 6.7 709 938 7.1 23 804 0.41 25 759 0.45
1999 695 139 7.0 732 775 7.3 24 037 0.42 28 150 0.49
2000 704 956 7.1 742 591 7.4 24 136 0.42 28 248 0.49
2001 727 666 7.3 765 302 7.7 24 167 0.42 28 280 0.49
2002 735 055 7.4 772 691 7.7 24 370 0.42 28 875 0.50
2003 790 872 7.9 834 451 8.4 27 571 0.48 32 090 0.56
2004 800 018 8.0 843 597 8.4 29 970 0.52 34 505 0.60
2005 826 672 8.3 870 251 8.7 31 388 0.55 38 691 0.67
2006 833 361 8.3 876 940 8.7 31 748 0.55 39 051 0.68
2007 859 520 8.6 903 099 9.0 31 942 0.56 49 667 0.86
2008 911 100 9.1 954 679 9.6 40 820 0.71 58 544 1.0
2009 939 503 9.4 983 082 9.8 41 375 0.72 59 099 1.0
2010 947 049 9.5 990 628 9.9 50 563 0.88 68 287 1.2
2011 971 493 9.7 1 015 932 10.2 50 648 0.88 68 373 1.2
2012 988 071 9.9 1 032 509 10.3 50 650 0.88 68 374 1.2
2013 1 022 048 10.2 1 096 605 11.0 51 297 0.89 70 011 1.2
2014 1 024 070 10.3 1 098 627 11.0 51 298 0.89 71 143 1.2
2015 1 047 284 10.5 1 121 842 11.2 52 644 0.92 71 515 1.2
2016 1 050 065 10.5 1 124 622 11.3 55 002 0.96 82 719 1.4
2017 1 052 418 10.5 1 126 975 11.3 168 443 2.9 451 510 7.9
2018 1 095 194 11.0 1 169 751 11.7 179 923 3.1 462 987 8.1
2019 1 133 907 11.4 1 211 813 12.1 511 906 8.9 794 974 13.8

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 2.93 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: Terrestrial area includes land and freshwater. Area conserved includes area protected as well as areas conserved with other measures. For more information on the definition of protected areas and areas conserved with other measures, please refer to the Data sources and methods. Trends are based on date of conservation, rather than date of reporting. Canada's terrestrial territory is 9 984 670 square kilometres (km2) and its marine territory is approximately 5 750 000 km2. Overlaps among protected areas and among areas conserved with other measures were corrected for. Data are current as of December 31, 2019.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2019) Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database.

Conserved areas include protected areas, as well as areas conserved with other measuresFootnote 1 (that is, areas that do not meet the formal definition of protected area but are managed in a way that conserves biodiversity over the long-term). Conserved areas are lands and waters where use is limited. In some cases, certain commercial activities and harvesting of biological resources may be allowed so long as they do not go against conservation objectives of the area.

Terrestrial area conserved has increased by 65% in the last 20 years and by 8% in the last 5 years. Marine area conserved has increased by more than 3 800% in the last 20 years and by more than 1 000% in the last 5 years. In 2019, Canada surpassed its 2020 marine conservation target of 10%, by conserving 13.8% of its marine territory.Footnote 2

The distribution and size of conserved areas is variable. Larger terrestrial conserved areas tend to be located in northern Canada, where there is less intensive use of land for agriculture, settlements, and road networks. Larger marine conserved areas tend to be located in offshore areas or in northern Canada, where human uses are often less intensive. In landscapes and seascapes with competing uses, conserved areas tend to be smaller but more numerous.

Conserved areas, Canada, 2019

Conserved areas, Canada, 2019 (see long description below)
Long description

The map of Canada shows the distribution and size of terrestrial (land and freshwater) and marine protected areas and areas conserved wither other measures in 2019.

How this indicator was calculated

Note: Terrestrial area includes land and freshwater. Data are current as of December 31, 2019.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2019) Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database.

Terrestrial

Terrestrial conserved areas, within each province and territory

Key results

  • The proportion of terrestrial area (land and freshwater) conserved varies by province and territory. It ranges from 4.0% in Prince Edward Island to 19.5% in British Columbia
  • Additions in 2019 include:
    • Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve, Thaidene Nëné Wildlife Conservation Area and Thaidene Nëné Territorial Protected Area, which added 26 000 square kilometres (km2) of protected area in the Northwest Territories
    • Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland Provincial Park, which added 1 600 km2 of protected area in Alberta
    • Tanzin Lake Ecological Reserve, which added 1 110 km2 of protected area in Saskatchewan
    • 38 000 km2 of area conserved with other measures was recognized in British Columbia
    • Canadian Forces Base Shilo, which added 231 km2 of area conserved with other measures in Manitoba

Proportion of terrestrial area conserved, by province and territory, Canada, 2019

Proportion of terrestrial area conserved, by province and territory, Canada, 2019 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Proportion of terrestrial area conserved, by province and territory, Canada, 2019
Province or territory
Provincial or territorial area
(square kilometres)
Area protected
(square kilometres)
Percentage of province or territory protected
Area conserved with other measures
(square kilometres)
Area conserved
(square kilometres)
Percentage of province or territory conserved
British Columbia 944 735 145 811 15.4 38 442 184 254 19.5
Northwest Territories 1 346 106 173 140 12.9 39 181 212 321 15.8
Alberta 661 848 101 668 15.4 0 101 668 15.4
Nova Scotia 55 284 6 979 12.6 0 6 979 12.6
Yukon 482 443 56 808 11.8 0 56 808 11.8
Manitoba 647 797 71 144 11.0 231 71 375 11.0
Quebec 1 512 418 162 203 10.7 0 162 203 10.7
Ontario 1 076 395 114 777 10.7 33 114 811 10.7
Nunavut 2 093 190 211 373 10.1 0 211 373 10.1
Saskatchewan 651 036 58 337 9.0 0 58 337 9.0
Newfoundland and Labrador 405 212 28 110 6.9 0 28 110 6.9
New Brunswick 72 908 3 390 4.6 0 3 390 4.6
Prince Edward Island 5 660 206 3.6 20 226 4.0

Note: Area conserved includes area protected as well as area conserved with other measures.

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.46 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: Terrestrial area includes land and freshwater. Data are current as of December 31, 2019.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2019) Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database.

At the end of 2019, 12.1% of Canada's terrestrial area was conserved. British Columbia had 19.5% of its terrestrial area conserved. The Northwest Territories had 15.8% of its territory conserved, while Alberta had 15.4% conserved. Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, each had less than 7% of their terrestrial territory conserved. The remaining provinces and territories had between 9% and 13% of their terrestrial territory conserved.

Each province has set aside areas for conservation, and progress towards conservation targets varies by jurisdiction. An increasing number of Indigenous protected areas and areas conserved with other measures are being established. Recent examples include:

These areas are managed cooperatively with jurisdictions and Indigenous people, or by Indigenous people.

Terrestrial conserved areas, by reporting jurisdiction

Key results

  • Over 61% of all terrestrial area conserved are reported by provincial and territorial jurisdictions
  • Parks Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada are responsible for 29% and 10% of Canada's terrestrial conserved areas, respectively

Terrestrial area conserved, by reporting jurisdiction, Canada, 2019

Terrestrial conserved areas, by reporting jurisdiction, Canada, 2019 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Terrestrial area conserved, by reporting jurisdiction, Canada, 2019
Jurisdiction
Area protected
(square kilometres)
Area conserved with other measures
(square kilometres)
Area conserved
(square kilometres)
Provincial and territorial subtotal 672 877 77 906 750 783
          British Columbia 139 708 38 441 178 149
          Quebec 160 871 0 160 871
          Ontario 101 359 33 101 393
          Northwest Territories 43 110 39 181 82 291
          Manitoba 57 403 231 57 634
          Saskatchewan 53 144 0 53 144
          Alberta 46 154 0 46 154
          Nunavut 36 534 0 36 534
          Yukon 20 613 0 20 613
          Nova Scotia 5 576 0 5 576
          Newfoundland and Labrador 5 302 0 5 302
          New Brunswick 2 922 0 2 922
          Prince Edward Island 181 21 202
Parks Canada 353 079 0 353 079
Environment and Climate Change Canada 119 106 2 119 108
National Capital Commission 462 0 462
Correction for overlaps among jurisdictions -11 617 -2 -11 619
Grand total 1 133 907 77 906 1 211 813

Note: Area conserved includes area protected as well as area conserved with other measures. 

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.35 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: Terrestrial areas include land and freshwater. Data are current as of December 31, 2019.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2019) Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database.

Marine

Marine conserved areas, by reporting jurisdiction

Key results

  • In 2019,
    • Canada surpassed its target to conserve 10% of its marine territory
    • the Tuvaijuittuq Marine Protected Area added 319 411 square kilometres (km2) of protected area
  • At the end of 2019, marine refuges covered about 283 000 km2 of Canada's marine territory
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Parks Canada are responsible for 80% and 15% of Canada's marine conserved areas, respectively

Marine area conserved, by reporting jurisdiction, Canada, 2019

Marine conserved areas, by reporting jurisdiction, Canada, 2019 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Marine area conserved, by reporting jurisdiction, Canada, 2019
Jurisdiction Area protected
(square kilometres)
Area conserved with other measures
(square kilometres)
Area conserved
(square kilometres)
Provincial subtotal 10 272 0 10 272
          Quebec 5 375 0 5 375
          British Columbia 4 644 0 4 644
          Atlantic provinces 173 0 173
          Manitoba 80 0 80
Fisheries and Oceans Canada 351 517 283 126 634 643
Parks Canada 122 089 0 122 089
Environment and Climate Change Canada 31 171 0 31 171
Correction for overlaps among jurisdictions -3 143 -58 -3 201
Grand total 511 906 283 068 794 974

Note: Area conserved includes area protected as well as area conserved with other measures. 

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.01 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: Data are current as of December 31, 2019.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2019) Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database.

Marine refuges are long-term fisheries area closures that have been assessed as meeting Canada's criteria for marine areas conserved with other measures.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Parks Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada each have specific but complementary mandates for establishing marine protected areas:

  • Oceans Act marine protected areas (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) are established to conserve marine species and their habitats, including species that are fished, endangered or threatened marine species, as well as unique habitats and areas of high biological productivity or biodiversity
  • National marine conservation areas (Parks Canada) are established to conserve representative examples of Canada's natural and cultural marine heritage and to provide opportunities for public education and enjoyment
  • National wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries (Environment and Climate Change Canada) are established to conserve habitat for a variety of wildlife including migratory birds and endangered species

Areas established by these departments, along with provincially established areas, contribute to the conservation network. The primary goal of this network is to provide long-term conservation of marine biodiversity, ecosystem function and special natural features.

The different jurisdictions conserve areas for different purposes,Footnote 3 and control the amount of human activity (such as transportation, fishing or recreation) that is allowed. Marine conservation efforts include a wide range of management and stewardship activities. Examples include support for the recovery of species at risk, prevention and mitigation of the impact of aquatic invasive species, and strengthening of Canada's response to ship-source marine pollution.

Ecological areas

Conserved areas, by ecological area

Canada's territory can be divided into 31 terrestrial and marine ecozones. Terrestrial ecozones are further divided into 215 terrestrial ecoregions. A representative conserved areas network should conserve biodiversity across all of Canada's ecological areas.

Conserved areas, by ecozone

Ecozones represent areas of the earth's surface where the physical and living parts function as a larger system.

Key results

  • Four (4) terrestrial ecozones, the Tundra Cordillera, the Pacific Maritime, the Montane Cordillera and the Arctic Cordillera, have more than 20% of their area conserved
  • Three (3) marine ecozones, the Arctic Basin, the Offshore Pacific and the Eastern Arctic, have more than 20% of their area conserved
  • 13.5% of the Canadian area of the Great Lakes is conserved

Proportion of area conserved, by ecozone, Canada, 2019

Proportion of area conserved, by ecozone, Canada, 2019 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Proportion of area conserved, by ecozone, Canada, 2019
Ecozone name Ecozone code Ecozone area
(square kilometres)
Area protected
(square kilometres)
Percentage of region protected Area conserved with other measures
(square kilometres)
Area conserved
(square kilometres)
Percentage of region conserved
Arctic Cordillera CL01 233 619 51 891 22.5 0 51 891 22.2
Northern Arctic CL02 1 481 481 105 630 7.1 0 105 630 7.1
Southern Arctic CL03 957 139 163 265 17.1 6 772 170 038 17.8
Taiga Plains CL04 554 013 60 498 10.9 18 239 78 737 14.2
Taiga Shield CL05 1 322 786 132 213 10.0 1 032 133 245 10.1
Boreal Shield CL06 1 897 364 188 252 9.9 0 188 252 9.9
Atlantic Maritime CL07 110 590 9 372 8.5 20 9 393 8.5
Mixedwood Plains CL08 116 206 2 320 2.0 33 2 353 2.0
Boreal Plains CL09 779 471 67 905 8.7 1 686 69 591 8.9
Prairies CL10 465 990 27 818 6.0 231 28 049 6.0
Montane Cordillera CL11 437 761 82 345 18.8 16 766 99 111 22.6
Pacific Maritime CL12 216 942 52 399 24.2 7 620 60 018 27.7
Boreal Cordillera CL13 557 937 96 587 17.3 9 799 106 386 19.1
Taiga Cordillera CL14 231 161 21 509 9.3 10 505 32 014 13.8
Hudson Plains CL15 350 693 43 760 12.5 0 43 760 12.5
Tundra Cordillera CL16 28 980 7 134 24.6 3 197 10 331 35.6
Atlantic Highlands CL17 93 017 3 799 4.1 0 3 799 4.1
Semi-Arid Plateaus CL18 56 434 5 312 9.4 2 005 7 318 13.0
Strait of Georgia CW19 8 969 425 4.7 32 458 5.1
Southern Shelf CW20 28 158 785 2.8 0 785 2.8
Offshore Pacific CW21 315 724 10 547 3.3 82 431 92 977 29.4
Northern Shelf CW22 101 663 16 683 16.4 0 16 683 16.4
Arctic Basin CW23 752 053 284 091 37.8 0 284 091 37.8
Western Arctic CW24 539 807 12 060 2.2 0 12 060 2.2
Arctic Archipelago CW25 268 792 38 923 14.5 0 38 923 14.5
Eastern Arctic CW26 782 636 115 296 14.7 58 725 174 091 22.2
Hudson Bay Complex CW27 1 244 670 8 684 0.7 0 8 684 0.7
Newfoundland-Labrador Shelves CW28 1 041 588 12 559 1.2 105 916 118 475 11.4
Scotian Shelf CW29 416 296 6 000 1.4 19 731 25 730 6.2
Gulf of Saint Lawrence CW30 246 648 5 852 2.4 16 233 22 084 9.0
Great Lakes CW31 88 250 11 898 13.5 0 11 898 13.5

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 2.41 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: Area conserved includes area protected as well as area conserved with other measures. Data are current as of December 31, 2019.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2019) Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database.

Terrestrial ecozones with high levels of urbanization and development or widespread agriculture tend to have small proportions of conserved area. For example, the Mixedwood Plains (in southern Ontario and along the St. Lawrence River) has only 2.0% of its area conserved and the Prairies has 6.1%. On the other hand, terrestrial ecozones with a high proportion of conserved area tend to be remote or have high recreation value. For example, ecozones in the western mountain ranges have 19% or more of their area conserved.

Recent efforts have rapidly increased the amount of area conserved in some marine ecozones. Tuvaijuittuq Marine Protected Area in the Arctic Basin is the largest marine protected area in Canada, increasing the proportion of the ecozone protected from less than 1% to 37.8%. Marine refuges in the Offshore Pacific, Eastern Arctic, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelves, Scotian Shelf and Gulf of St. Lawrence have conserved more than 5% of each of these areas.

Each ecozone is unique, and conservation involves the inclusion of areas that are representative of different parts of the ecozone and sites of special value. Challenges to establishing conserved areas include competition from other uses, such as agriculture, industry or urban development, and it may be limited by the extent of ecologically intact areas within the ecozone.

Conserved areas, by ecoregion

Ecoregions are subdivisions of ecozones characterized by distinctive regional attributes. These include climate, physiology, vegetation, soil, water and fauna.

Key results

  • Of the 215 ecoregions in Canada,
    • 75% (161 ecoregions) have less than 17% of their area conserved
    • 10% (21 ecoregions) have between 17% and 30% of their area conserved
    • 15% (33 ecoregions) have more than 30% of their area conserved

Figure 7. Proportion of area conserved, by ecoregion, Canada, 2019

Proportion of area conserved, by ecoregion, Canada, 2019 (see data table below for the long description)
Data table for the long description
Proportion of area conserved, by ecoregion, Canada, 2019
Ecoregion name Ecoregion code Ecoregion area
(square kilometres)
Area protected
(square kilometres)
Percentage of region protected Area conserved with other measures
(square kilometres)
Area conserved
(square kilometres)
Percentage of region conserved
Ellesmere and Devon Island Ice Caps CL01R01 113 244 14 120 12.5 0 14 120 12.5
Baffin Mountains CL01R02 87 928 27 592 31.4 0 27 592 31.4
Baffin Islands Coastal Lowlands CL01R03 9 159 476 5.2 0 476 5.2
Torngat Mountains CL01R04 19 182 9 764 50.9 0 9 764 50.9
Ellesmere Mountains CL02R01 53 112 6 197 11.7 0 6 197 11.7
Eureka Hills CL02R02 75 769 15 492 20.4 0 15 492 20.4
Polar Islands CL02R03 21 353 0 0 0 0 0
Sverdrup Islands Lowland CL02R04 28 971 0 0 0 0 0
Lancaster Plateau CL02R05 102 430 78 0.1 0 78 0.1
High Arctic CL02R06 25 939 3 687 14.2 0 3 687 14.2
Central Melville Upland CL02R07 15 210 0 0 0 0 0
Parry Islands Plateau CL02R08 43 593 12 266 28.1 0 12 266 28.1
Mid Arctic West CL02R09 42 701 26 585 62.3 0 26 585 62.3
Mid Arctic East CL02R10 91 488 362 0.4 0 362 0.4
Low Arctic North CL02R11 9 859 859 8.7 0 859 8.7
Shaler Mountains CL02R12 26 327 0 0 0 0 0
Amundsen Gulf Lowlands CL02R13 49 141 22 0 0 22 0
Victoria Islands Lowland CL02R14 123 129 0 0 0 0 0
Prince of Wales Island Lowland CL02R15 17 150 0 0 0 0 0
Boothia Peninsula Plateau CL02R16 35 701 0 0 0 0 0
Gulf of Boothia Plain CL02R17 24 426 13 0.1 0 13 0.1
Borden Peninsula Plateau CL02R18 31 473 11 822 37.6 0 11 822 37.6
Melville Peninsula Plateau CL02R19 111 290 11 0 0 11 0
Baffin Island Uplands CL02R20 79 703 1 597 2.0 0 1 597 2.0
Wager Bay Plateau CL02R21 250 876 18 440 7.4 0 18 440 7.4
Foxe Basin Plain CL02R22 56 549 6 574 11.6 0 6 574 11.6
Meta Incognita Peninsula CL02R23 77 447 1 223 1.6 0 1 223 1.6
Pangnirtung Upland CL02R24 34 271 40 0.1 0 40 0.1
Hall Peninsula Upland CL02R25 35 389 0 0 0 0 0
Baffin Upland CL02R26 16 265 301 1.9 0 301 1.9
Yukon Coastal Plain CL03R01 4 652 2 478 53.3 0 2 478 53.3
West Lowlands CL03R02 24 729 1 178 4.8 0 1 178 4.8
Central Lowlands CL03R03 14 847 335 2.3 0 335 2.3
East Lowlands CL03R04 5 112 101 2.0 0 101 2.0
East Highlands CL03R05 22 546 16 696 74.1 0 16 696 74.1
Coronation Hills CL03R06 77 972 2 085 2.7 3 652 5 737 7.4
Bathurst Hills CL03R07 8 986 1 0 0 1 0
Takijua Lake Upland CL03R08 126 102 1 543 1.2 915 2 457 1.9
Queen Maud Gulf Lowland CL03R09 66 172 43 449 65.7 0 43 449 65.7
Chantrey Inlet Lowland CL03R10 21 959 2 163 9.9 0 2 163 9.9
Garry Lake Lowland CL03R11 98 928 29 029 29.3 2 206 31 235 31.6
Back River Plain CL03R12 33 117 14 989 45.3 0 14 989 45.3
Dubawnt Lake Plain and Upland CL03R13 54 322 14 869 27.4 0 14 869 27.4
Maguse River Upland CL03R14 78 598 257 0.3 0 257 0.3
Southampton Island Plain CL03R15 37 903 1 463 3.9 0 1 463 3.9
Ottawa Islands CL03R16 410 0 0 0 0 0
Belcher Islands CL03R17 3 214 0 0 0 0 0
Ungava Peninsula CL03R18 240 236 19 999 8.3 0 19 999 8.3
Northern Labrador Highlands CL03R19 38 496 12 632 32.8 0 12 632 32.8
Mackenzie Delta CL04R01 9 373 0 0 130 130 1.4
Low Subarctic Northern Plains CL04R02 55 550 8 111 14.6 2 216 10 327 18.6
Northern Uplands CL04R03 54 532 808 1.5 6 920 7 728 14.2
High Subarctic Northern Plains CL04R04 82 597 666 0.8 2 020 2 685 3.3
Central Highlands CL04R05 38 262 3 307 8.6 2 699 6 006 15.7
Central Uplands CL04R06 17 973 109 0.6 16 125 0.7
Central Plains CL04R07 20 851 1 128 5.4 3 149 4 277 20.5
Lac Grandin Plain CL04R08 26 097 1 317 5.0 523 1 840 7.1
West-central Uplands CL04R09 10 647 683 6.4 0 683 6.4
Mackenzie Plain CL04R10 18 388 1 439 7.8 0 1 439 7.8
Bulmer Plain CL04R11 17 255 1 370 7.9 0 1 370 7.9
Horn Plateau CL04R12 9 404 6 946 73.9 0 6 946 73.9
Great Slave Lake Plain CL04R13 15 877 116 0.7 0 116 0.7
Northern Alberta Upland CL04R14 31 212 481 1.5 566 1 047 3.4
Southern Uplands CL04R15 15 675 0 0 0 0 0
Northern Mixedwood CL04R16 92 264 24 663 26.7 0 24 663 26.7
Lower Boreal Highlands North CL04R17 11 745 1 926 16.4 0 1 926 16.4
Boreal Subarctic CL04R18 14 006 5 844 41.7 0 5 844 41.7
Slave Lowlands CL04R19 11 667 1 583 13.6 0 1 583 13.6
High Subarctic West CL05R01 60 726 3 155 5.2 950 4 105 6.8
Low Subarctic North CL05R02 58 734 4 831 8.2 82 4 913 8.4
High Boreal CL05R03 111 755 13 625 12.2 0 13 625 12.2
Slave Plain CL05R04 7 579 11 0.1 0 11 0.1
Selwyn Lake Upland CL05R05 196 275 19 091 9.7 0 19 091 9.7
Kazan River Upland CL05R06 183 946 24 006 13.1 0 24 006 13.1
La Grande Hills CL05R07 171 951 34 058 19.8 0 34 058 19.8
Nord-du-Québec Central Plateau CL05R08 177 618 14 170 8.0 0 14 170 8.0
McPhayden Plateau CL05R09 9 461 7 0.1 0 7 0.1
Ungava Bay Basin CL05R10 109 785 9 460 8.6 0 9 460 8.6
Kingurutik-Fraser CL05R11 52 915 0 0 0 0 0
Coastal Barrens CL05R12 13 520 856 6.3 0 856 6.3
Michikamau-Smallwood CL05R13 86 549 1 448 1.7 0 1 448 1.7
Nipishish-Goose CL05R14 23 259 0 0 0 0 0
Mecatina River CL05R15 41 289 0 0 0 0 0
Eagle Plateau – Mealy Mountains CL05R16 17 599 7 496 42.6 0 7 496 42.6
Athabasca Plain CL06R01 87 467 6 466 7.4 0 6 466 7.4
Churchill River Upland CL06R02 196 603 11 635 5.9 0 11 635 5.9
Hayes River Upland CL06R03 131 805 4 697 3.6 0 4 697 3.6
Big Trout Lake CL06R04 146 897 5 610 3.8 0 5 610 3.8
Lake St. Joseph CL06R05 91 057 25 599 28.1 0 25 599 28.1
Lake Wabigoon CL06R06 75 331 15 678 20.8 0 15 678 20.8
Lake of the Woods CL06R07 16 390 749 4.6 0 749 4.6
Lake Nipigon CL06R08 89 192 14 724 16.5 0 14 724 16.5
Pigeon River CL06R09 20 468 5 156 25.2 0 5 156 25.2
Abitibi Lowlands CL06R10 211 625 17 556 8.3 0 17 556 8.3
Lake Temagami CL06R11 41 758 6 264 15.0 0 6 264 15.0
Georgian Bay CL06R12 74 501 7 869 10.6 0 7 869 10.6
Mistassini Highlands CL06R13 97 165 16 232 16.7 0 16 232 16.7
Southern Laurentides Highlands CL06R14 158 761 12 533 7.9 0 12 533 7.9
Central Laurentides Highlands CL06R15 205 129 17 362 8.5 0 17 362 8.5
Lake Melville CL06R16 17 668 461 2.6 0 461 2.6
Paradise River CL06R17 17 160 1 900 11.1 0 1 900 11.1
Middle and Lower Côte-Nord Plateau CL06R18 104 282 9 720 9.3 0 9 720 9.3
Anticosti Island CL06R19 7 937 602 7.6 0 602 7.6
Strait of Belle Isle Barrens CL06R20 1 783 42 2.4 0 42 2.4
Northern Peninsula Forest CL06R21 8 508 505 5.9 0 505 5.9
Long Range Barrens CL06R22 16 589 1 589 9.6 0 1 589 9.6
Western Newfoundland Forest CL06R23 9 874 551 5.6 0 551 5.6
Central Newfoundland Forest CL06R24 28 731 528 1.8 0 528 1.8
North Shore Forest CL06R25 5 483 133 2.4 0 133 2.4
Maritime Barrens CL06R26 37 734 4 037 10.7 0 4 037 10.7
Avalon Forest CL06R27 555 14 2.5 0 14 2.5
Eastern Hyper-Oceanic Barrens CL06R28 1 545 44 2.8 0 44 2.8
Valley Lowlands CL07R01 20 310 722 3.6 0 722 3.6
Eastern Lowlands CL07R02 39 021 1 759 4.5 0 1 759 4.5
Grand Lake Lowlands CL07R03 3 780 153 4.0 0 153 4.0
Central Uplands East CL07R04 1 408 203 14.4 0 203 14.4
Fundy Coast CL07R05 3 633 256 7.0 0 256 7.0
Prince Edward Island CL07R06 5 932 206 3.5 20 226 3.8
Îles-de-la-Madeleine CL07R07 232 24 10.3 0 24 10.3
Avalon Uplands CL07R08 4 793 403 8.4 0 403 8.4
Triassic Lowlands CL07R09 1 367 1 0.1 0 1 0.1
Western Meguma Interior CL07R10 17 129 2 833 16.5 0 2 833 16.5
Eastern Meguma Interior CL07R11 6 136 773 12.6 0 773 12.6
Cape Breton Highlands CL07R12 2 460 1 282 52.1 0 1 282 52.1
Cape Breton Taiga CL07R13 302 227 75.2 0 227 75.2
Atlantic Coast CL07R14 4 088 532 13.0 0 532 13.0
St. Lawrence Lowlands CL08R01 44 124 1 442 3.3 0 1 443 3.3
Lake Simcoe CL08R02 49 405 685 1.4 33 718 1.5
Lake Erie - Lake Ontario CL08R03 21 865 185 0.8 0 185 0.8
Muskwa Plateau CL09R01 26 169 857 3.3 1 857 3.3
Mid Boreal Uplands CL09R02 307 570 41 735 13.6 724 42 459 13.8
Lower Boreal Highlands South CL09R03 69 089 2 986 4.3 559 3 545 5.1
Upper Boreal Highlands CL09R04 11 894 2 331 19.6 0 2 331 19.6
Dry Mixedwood CL09R05 58 592 939 1.6 185 1 124 1.9
Peace River Parkland CL09R06 3 122 20 0.6 0 20 0.6
Lower Foothills CL09R07 51 105 526 1.0 187 713 1.4
Upper Foothills CL09R08 22 460 600 2.7 30 631 2.8
Peace-Athabasca Delta CL09R09 5 539 5 227 94.4 0 5 227 94.4
Boreal Transition CL09R10 91 799 5 212 5.7 0 5 212 5.7
Mid Boreal Lowland CL09R11 92 890 5 931 6.4 0 5 931 6.4
Interlake Plain CL09R12 39 782 1 542 3.9 0 1 542 3.9
Aspen Parkland CL10R01 170 223 6 431 3.8 231 6 662 3.9
Foothills Parkland CL10R02 3 928 243 6.2 0 243 6.2
Foothills Fescue CL10R03 13 642 49 0.4 0 49 0.4
Moist Mixed Grassland CL10R04 82 833 4 836 5.8 0 4 836 5.8
Mixedgrass CL10R05 17 599 180 1.0 0 180 1.0
Dry Mixedgrass CL10R06 133 416 14 309 10.7 0 14 309 10.7
Cypress Mixedgrass CL10R07 7 517 1 073 14.3 0 1 073 14.3
Cypress Hills Montane CL10R08 309 206 66.7 0 206 66.7
Southwest Manitoba Uplands CL10R09 2 188 127 5.8 0 127 5.8
Lake Manitoba Plain CL10R10 32 768 363 1.1 0 363 1.1
Skeena Mountains CL11R01 24 427 882 3.6 540 1 422 5.8
Omineca Mountains CL11R02 34 083 2 965 8.7 307 3 272 9.6
Fraser Basin CL11R03 43 017 1 521 3.5 415 1 936 4.5
Central Canadian Rocky Mountains CL11R04 37 273 3 714 10.0 2 596 6 310 16.9
Eastern Hazelton Mountains CL11R05 13 535 5 992 44.3 1 010 7 002 51.7
Chilcotin Ranges CL11R06 15 784 6 476 41.0 387 6 863 43.5
Fraser Plateau CL11R07 82 038 5 173 6.3 6 195 11 368 13.9
Columbia Highlands CL11R08 29 572 3 196 10.8 2 613 5 809 19.6
Selkirk-Bitterroot Foothills CL11R09 7 646 879 11.5 56 935 12.2
Northern Columbia Mountains CL11R10 53 493 12 022 22.5 1 144 13 166 24.6
Southern Rocky Mountain Trench CL11R11 8 498 605 7.1 156 761 9.0
Purcell Transitional Ranges CL11R12 8 108 1 198 14.8 6 1 204 14.8
Western Continental Ranges CL11R13 23 382 6 500 27.8 113 6 613 28.3
Northern Continental Divide CL11R14 5 916 437 7.4 871 1 309 22.1
Eastern Continental Ranges CL11R15 50 020 30 785 61.5 356 31 142 62.3
Mount Logan CL12R01 12 925 12 923 100 0 12 923 100
Chugach Mountains and Icefields CL12R02 2 338 2 338 100 0 2 338 100
Boundary Ranges CL12R03 21 426 1 318 6.2 10 1 328 6.2
Nass Ranges CL12R04 27 323 1 279 4.7 1 513 2 793 10.2
Gwaii Haanas CL12R05 10 049 4 819 48.0 8 4 828 48.0
Coastal Gap CL12R06 45 187 16 895 37.4 627 17 522 38.8
Western Vancouver Island CL12R07 20 165 2 815 14.0 867 3 682 18.3
Eastern Vancouver Island CL12R08 12 333 1 546 12.5 204 1 750 14.2
Georgia-Puget Basin CL12R09 1 668 150 9.0 3 154 9.2
Lower Mainland CL12R10 4 290 218 5.1 50 268 6.2
Pacific Ranges CL12R11 59 317 8 097 13.7 4 338 12 434 21.0
St. Elias Mountains CL13R01 18 708 15 693 83.9 0 15 693 83.9
Wellesley Lake CL13R02 3 983 0 0 0 0 0
Ruby-Nisling Ranges CL13R03 18 885 10 0.1 0 10 0.1
Klondike Plateau CL13R04 36 520 0 0 0 0 0
Yukon Plateau-Central CL13R05 24 030 110 0.5 0 110 0.5
McQuesten Highlands CL13R06 23 592 764 3.2 0 764 3.2
Yukon Plateau-North CL13R07 49 503 1 770 3.6 0 1 770 3.6
Selwyn Mountains CL13R08 35 697 1 0 0 1 0
Mid-Boreal Highlands CL13R09 24 120 12 638 52.4 2 12 640 52.4
High Boreal Highlands CL13R10 23 759 18 135 76.3 0 18 135 76.3
High Boreal Lowlands CL13R11 9 561 1 042 10.9 0 1 042 10.9
Yukon-Stikine Highlands CL13R12 23 468 6 654 28.4 0 6 654 28.4
Yukon Southern Lakes CL13R13 50 133 5 846 11.7 0 5 846 11.7
Pelly Mountains CL13R14 46 960 140 0.3 0 140 0.3
Boreal Mountains and Plateaus CL13R15 79 123 20 724 26.2 4 470 25 194 31.8
Liard Basin CL13R16 28 926 620 2.1 0 620 2.1
Hyland Highland CL13R17 19 609 378 1.9 0 378 1.9
Northern Canadian Rocky Mountains CL13R18 41 282 12 062 29.2 5 327 17 390 42.1
Davidson Mountains CL14R01 5 191 3 302 63.6 0 3 302 63.6
Old Crow Basin CL14R02 14 923 5 794 38.8 0 5 794 38.8
North Ogilvie Mountains CL14R03 40 613 5 066 12.5 0 5 066 12.5
Eagle Plains CL14R04 21 985 1 296 5.9 0 1 296 5.9
Mackenzie Mountains CL14R05 31 568 910 2.9 0 910 2.9
Low Subarctic Lowlands CL14R06 43 421 1 861 4.3 1 833 3 694 8.5
High Subarctic Highlands CL14R07 24 526 137 0.6 1 652 1 789 7.3
Low Subarctic Highlands CL14R08 49 040 3 145 6.4 7 020 10 165 20.7
Coastal Hudson Bay Lowland CL15R01 57 236 26 576 46.4 0 26 576 46.4
Hudson Bay Lowland CL15R02 138 825 13 362 9.6 0 13 362 9.6
James Bay Lowlands CL15R03 152 345 3 823 2.5 0 3 823 2.5
British-Richardson Mountains CL16R01 28 887 7 134 24.7 3 197 10 331 35.8
Appalachian Mountains CL17R01 69 073 2 623 3.8 0 2 623 3.8
Central Uplands West CL17R02 12 393 377 3.0 0 377 3.0
Northern New Brunswick Uplands CL17R03 8 724 516 5.9 0 516 5.9
New Brunswick Highlands CL17R04 2 822 283 10.0 0 283 10.0
Interior Transition Ranges CL18R01 14 026 2 235 15.9 1 078 3 314 23.6
Northern Cascade Ranges CL18R02 9 479 1 644 17.3 197 1 841 19.4
Thompson-Okanagan Plateau CL18R03 31 596 1 238 3.9 722 1 959 6.2
Okanagan Highland CL18R04 1 363 195 14.3 8 203 14.9
Great Lakes CW31 88 250 11 898 13.5 0 11 898 13.5

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 12.3 kB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: Area conserved includes area protected as well as area conserved with other measures. Data are current as of December 31, 2019.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2019) Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database.

The area conserved varies greatly among ecoregions. Ecoregions that have the highest proportion of area conserved are associated with large protected areas. For example, the Peace-Athabasca Delta ecoregion has 94.4% of its area conserved (Wood Buffalo National Park) and the Mount Logan ecoregion has 100% of its area conserved (Kluane National Park and Reserve). On the other hand, ecoregions in urban or agricultural landscapes have the lowest proportion of area conserved. The James Bay Lowlands, Lake Simcoe and Lake Erie - Lake Ontario ecoregions all have less than 3% of their area conserved.

About the indicators

About the indicators

What the indicators measure

These indicators report the amount and proportion of Canada's terrestrial (land and freshwater) and marine area that is conserved. Canada recognizes the international definitions of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (One with Nature 2018 [PDF; 2.12 MB]). Land and/or water access and use within protected areas are controlled primarily for the purpose of conserving nature (for example, a park, a conservation area or a wildlife reserve). Other effective area-based conservation measures are also managed over the long term in ways that result in the effective conservation of biodiversity. However, they might have been established for other purposes.

Why these indicators are important

Well-managed conserved areas are one way to protect wild species and their habitats for present and future generations. Habitat conservation is a measure of human response to the loss of biodiversity and natural habitat. As the area conserved in Canada increases, more lands and waters are withdrawn from direct human development stresses, thereby contributing to biodiversity conservation and improving the health of ecosystems. In turn, healthy ecosystems provide benefits such as clean water, mitigation of climate change, pollination and improved human health.

Many countries use protected areas as the core of their programs to preserve biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystem services. The parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, among them Canada, have set an aspirational target to conserve at least 17% of terrestrial areas and inland waters, and 10% of marine areas, by 2020. This is the 11th of 20 targets collectively known as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, established in October 2010.

As part of its work towards achieving Target 1 of the 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada, Canada has conserved new areas and recognized previously existing areas. The Pathway to Canada Target 1 initiative focusses on terrestrial and freshwater areas, while Fisheries and Oceans Canada leads on meeting marine conservation targets. In 2015, when the Biodiversity Goals and Targets were established for Canada, 10.5% of Canada’s terrestrial area and around 1% of its marine area were recognized as protected.

FSDS icon: Healthy coasts and oceans

Healthy coasts and oceans

These indicators track progress on the 2019 to 2022 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, supporting the target: By 2020, 10% of coastal and marine areas are conserved through networks of marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures. The most recent data available shows that, as of the end of 2019, 13.8% of Canada's coastal and marine areas were conserved through a network of marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, including 8.9% in protected areas.

FSDS icon: Sustainably managed lands and forests

Sustainably managed lands and forests

These indicators track progress on the 2019 to 2022 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, supporting the target: By 2020, at least 17% of terrestrial areas and inland water are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures. The most recent data available shows that, as of the end of 2019, 12.1% of Canada's terrestrial areas and inland water were conserved through a network of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, including 11.4% in protected areas.

In addition, the indicators contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They are linked to Goal 14, Life Below Water and Target 14.5, "By 2020, conserve at least 10% of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information." They are also linked to Goal 15, Life on Land and Target 15.1, "By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements."

The indicators also contribute towards reporting on Target 1 of the 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada: "By 2020, at least 17 percent of terrestrial areas and inland water, and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas, are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures."

Related indicators

The Ecological integrity of national parks indicator reports on the condition of ecosystems within national parks, an important element of Canada's conserved area network.

The Global trends in protected areas indicator compares Canada's protected area to a peer group of countries.

Data sources and methods

Data sources and methods

Data sources

Data are taken from the Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database (the database). Data from federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions, the authoritative data sources, are compiled by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

More information

Protected areas and areas conserved with other measures

Protected areas together with areas conserved with other measures are referred to as conserved areas. Protected areas are areas recognized as meeting the international definition for a protected area. Areas conserved with other measures must meet all elements of the Pan-Canadian definition and international definition to be recognized as conserved.Footnote 4,Footnote 5 The Convention on Biodiversity defines an "other effective area-based conservation measure" as "a geographically defined area other than a Protected Area, which is governed and managed in ways that achieve positive and sustained long-term outcomes for the in situ conservation of biodiversity."

Data description

The database contains data consolidated from all jurisdictions with responsibilities for conserved areas in Canada. Data are current as of December 31, 2019.

At least once each year, federal, provincial and territorial departments and agencies submit geospatial and ancillary data for conserved areas under their administrative control. Data on areas controlled by Indigenous or non-governmental organizations, such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Ducks Unlimited Canada, are included in cases where a jurisdiction has recognized those areas.

The data include the name of the area, its geospatial location, boundaries, official area, biome (terrestrial/marine), International Union for Conservation of Nature management category, managing jurisdiction, and protection date, among other information.

In cases where the same attribute information does not apply to the entire conserved area, the area is divided into zones for reporting. For example, a single protected area that crosses a provincial border is divided into zones corresponding to the different provinces. Similarly, a protected area that is later expanded is treated as several zones, each with its own protection date. Terrestrial and marine sections are treated as separate zones; freshwater is included in the terrestrial zone. Ancillary data are maintained independently for each zone. Conserved areas that are undivided are treated as a single zone.

Work is ongoing to capture and incorporate data on additional privately held protected areas and on areas being conserved through means other than formal protection.

Jurisdictional area

  • For Canada and for all provinces and territories except Quebec: Natural Resources Canada (2005) Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, Land and freshwater area, by province and territory
  • For Quebec: Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques
  • Canada's marine territory: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (2013) departmental analysis based on National Resources Canada (2009) Atlas of Canada 1:1,000,000 National Frameworks Data, Administrative Boundaries

National boundaries

Natural Resources Canada (2019) CanVec Series 1:1,000,000 Geopolitical Region, Administrative Boundaries.

Ecozones and ecoregions

Environment and Climate Change Canada (2019) Canadian Terrestrial Ecological Framework. Marine ecozones are based on Fisheries and Oceans Canada (2016) Federal Marine Bioregions (Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, Science Advisory Report 2009/056).

Methods

The area conserved is estimated by means of a geographical analysis based on reported boundaries, accounting for overlaps. Separate estimates are made for protected areas and for areas conserved with other measures.

More information

Calculating Canada's conserved area

The Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database (the database) contains information on the protection (or conservation) date for each zone. For some zones, it also contains a delisting date.

To estimate the terrestrial protected area trend over time:

  1. All polygons representing terrestrial protected areas that were protected in 1990 or earlier were selected from the database
  2. The selected polygons were dissolved into a single polygon (removing overlaps), and the resulting area calculated using Albers Equal Area Conic projection
  3. The process was repeated for each subsequent year (delisted areas were removed from the analysis starting in the year they were delisted)
  4. Estimates were divided by the total terrestrial area of Canada to determine the proportion protected

To estimate the marine protected area, a similar process was followed, selecting protected marine polygons at each step. The process was repeated for areas conserved with other measures, for both terrestrial and marine. Total area conserved was calculated by summing area protected and area conserved with other measures.

Polygons with an unknown conservation date comprise 3.2% of the total conserved area. If a polygon with an unknown conservation date was described as "interim," it was assigned a conservation date based on the year it was first reported to the database (1.5% of total conserved area); otherwise it was treated as having been conserved prior to 1990.

Terrestrial conserved areas, within each province and territory

The database contains information on the province or territory in which a conserved area is located. Using methodology similar to that used for reporting trends in the national indicator, for each province and territory, terrestrial protected area polygons were combined into a single polygon and the area calculated. The analysis was repeated for terrestrial areas conserved with other measures.

Terrestrial and marine conserved areas, by reporting jurisdiction

The database also contains information on the jurisdiction responsible for each conserved area. As with the national indicator, for each jurisdiction, protected areas polygons were combined into a single polygon and the total area was calculated. Additional analysis was conducted to estimate the area for areas conserved with other measures.

Conserved areas, by ecological area

The database does not contain information on ecological areas. To generate an estimate of conserved area within each ecozone and ecoregion, a geospatial analysis was conducted. However, national ecozone and ecoregion boundaries are more generalized than local conserved areas boundaries, and this has the potential to affect estimates in coastal areas. To avoid this problem, marine conserved area polygons that mapped outside a marine ecozone were assigned to the nearest marine ecozone. Similarly, terrestrial conserved areas that mapped outside a terrestrial ecozone were assigned to the nearest terrestrial ecozone. The steps followed were:

  1. A working layer containing generalized ecozone boundaries was developed
    1. Marine ecozone boundaries were copied from the national ecozone coverage, and marine ecozone polygons were extended inland to include adjacent terrestrial regions
  2. The marine protected area polygons were selected from the database
  3. The working layer and the marine protected area polygons were combined into a single layer
    1. Marine protected areas that crossed ecozone boundaries were divided at the boundary
  4. Protected area polygons were selected from the combined layer, and the overlap-corrected area was calculated for each generalized ecozone, resulting in marine areas being assigned to the correct ecozone
  5. The process was repeated for marine areas conserved with other measures
  6. The process was repeated for terrestrial protected areas and terrestrial areas conserved with other measures

To be consistent with the projection used in the database, the ecozone layer was re-projected to Albers Equal Area Conic. The total area of each ecozone was then calculated from its geospatial boundaries. The Newfoundland-Labrador Shelves ecozone area was corrected for the territorial area of St Pierre and Miquelon. The total area conserved per ecozone was divided by the total area of the ecozone in order to generate a percentage.

For the terrestrial ecoregion analysis, a geospatial analysis calculated the overlap-adjusted protected area and area conserved with other measures within each ecoregion. Terrestrial conserved areas falling outside the ecoregion boundaries were assigned to the nearest ecoregion.

Recent changes

Data are regularly reviewed and updated. The completeness of the database is continuously being improved as existing conservation areas are reviewed and added to the database if appropriate.

In 2018, the Conservation Areas Reporting and Tracking System was converted to the Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database and brought formally within Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Caveats and limitations

Comparisons with previous reports should be made with caution, as data quality and completeness continue to improve. Privately protected land and other effective area-based conservation measures contribute to achievement of Canada's targets, but many are not yet captured within the database.

More information

The area protected or conserved calculated using polygon boundaries may differ from the "official area" reported in the Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database.

Responsibility for source data accuracy and completeness lies with the jurisdictions. Jurisdictional work is guided by the federal, provincial and territorial report One with Nature (PDF; 2.12 MB). Guidance material and decision support tools were adapted from, and in collaboration with, the Canadian Council on Ecological Areas. Nonetheless, some differences in the approach jurisdictions take in recognizing protected areas and areas conserved with other measures can be expected.

Areas that are no longer recognized as protected or conserved ("decommissioned" or "delisted") are not captured comprehensively and may be missing from the database. Decommissioned or delisted areas are counted from their establishment date until their delisting date.

Complex boundaries, such as coastlines and ecological areas, must be generalized for mapping purposes. In nature, ecozones or ecoregions do not have sharp boundaries. Due to the uncertainty of such boundaries, results should be seen as estimates rather than precise measurements. The mismatch in scale between conserved areas, mapped with fine detail, and national-scale geographic frameworks, mapped at a broad scale, may lead to minor differences across the various summaries because of the measurement uncertainty inherent in this type of analysis. Differences in the delineation of coastlines may result in a small amount of overlap between marine and terrestrial conserved area polygon boundaries; these overlaps have not been addressed.

Ecozones and ecoregions are ecologically based frameworks and should not be considered an expression of sovereignty. The 2019 updates to the ecozone and ecoregion frameworks have been completed for the purpose of reporting on national representation for the Pathway to Canada Target 1 initiative, and do not represent an official update of the 1995 National Ecological Framework. While the 2019 framework contains the most up-to-date information from jurisdictions, it should be noted that a different methodology was used by each data provider to determine the boundaries of the ecozones and ecoregions and that this national layer may differ from the provincial and territorial layers.

Protection is a designation, and the indicators do not provide information on the effectiveness of protection, the degree to which the ecological functioning of the area is intact, or the degree to which pressures outside a conserved area might affect the biodiversity within it. For example, an "other effective area-based conservation measure," such as a marine refuge, restricts certain activities without limiting others.

Resources

Resources

References

Canadian Council on Ecological Areas Secretariat (2008) Canadian Guidebook for the Application of International Union for Conservation of Nature Protected Area Categories 2008. CCEA Occasional Paper No. 18. Canadian Council on Ecological Areas, Ottawa, ON. 66 pp.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (2009) Development of a Framework and Principles for the Biogeographic Classification of Canadian Marine Areas. Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, Science Advisory Report 2009/056. Retrieved on April 30, 2020.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (2017) Operational Guidance for Identifying "Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures" in Canada's Marine Environment. Retrieved on April 30, 2020.

Pathway to Canada Target 1 Initiative (2018) One with Nature. A Renewed Approach to Land and Freshwater Conservation in Canada (PDF; 2.12 MB). Retrieved on April 30, 2020.

Stolton S, Shadie P and Dudley N (2013) Guidelines for applying protected area management categories including IUCN WCPA best practice guidance on recognising protected areas and assigning management categories and governance types (combined volume). Best Practice Protected Area Guidelines Series No. 21, Gland, Switzerland, section 2. Retrieved on April 30, 2020.

Related information

2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada

Canadian Council on Ecological Areas

Convention on Biological Diversity

Interactive map of Quebec's protected areas (in French only)

Pathway to Canada Target 1

ProtectedPlanet.net

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