Protecting our nature: Canada’s story
It’s in our nature
Canada is home to a quarter of the Earth’s wetlands and boreal forests; 20 percent of its fresh water; the longest coastline in the world; and precious habitats for birds, fish, and mammals. We have a special responsibility to the world.
Together with Canadians, we are conserving a quarter of our lands and a quarter of our oceans by 2025
We are on our way to conserving 2,496,168 km2of our land and fresh water and 1,437,500 km2of our oceans by 2025. That is 3,933,668 km2of protected lands, lakes, and oceans—an area bigger than India! This action is part of the Government of Canada’s commitments to conserving a quarter of Canada’s lands and a quarter of its oceans by 2025 and working toward conserving 30 percent of each by 2030.
To reach our goals, we are working together with provinces and territories, Indigenous Peoples, cities and towns, foundations, charities, and other partners from coast to coast to coast.
Map of Canada with text “Making progress towards protecting 25% of our lands and oceans by 2025.” and arrow indicating the increase in protected land and oceans divided into three dates:
2015: 1.12 million km2
Today: 2 million km2
2025: 3.93 million km2
The data is as of October 2020.
What we have done
So far, more than 2 million km2of our lands and oceans are already protected or conserved—an area that is bigger than the size of Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador combined. Over the past several years, we have increased this number by creating and supporting new federal, provincial, territorial, and Indigenous protected areas, as well as areas protected by land trusts and communities.
We’re adding new protected and other conserved areas:
- Prairie Pastures (Govenlock, Nashlyn, and Battle Creek) land transfer in southwestern Saskatchewan covers an area of 800 km2 and is an excellent example of how governments, ranchers, and conservation groups can work together to protect iconic Canadian biodiversity, including 12 species at risk.
- Edéhzhíe Indigenous Protected Area, the first Indigenous protected area established under the Canada Nature Fund.
- Scott Islands Marine National Wildlife Area, one of the most diverse marine ecosystems on Canada’s Pacific coast, attracting millions of migratory birds each year.
- Tuvaijuittuq Marine Protected Area off the northwest coast of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, in the Arctic Ocean, established in collaboration with the Inuit and Government of Nunavut to conserve and protect the diversity and productivity of the High Arctic sea-ice ecosystem.
- St. Anns Bank Marine Protected Area off the coast of Nova Scotia, a habitat for more than 100 species.
- Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland, an Alberta-led protected area created and managed though collaboration with local Indigenous groups, the community, and industry and supported by the Canada Nature Fund.
- Kenauk protected area, a unique and exceptional wetland and forest area and home to more than 170 species, protected by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
What we are doing
We are not yet done! To reach our 2025 target, we still need to protect new land areas almost the size of Peru. We are doing this by
- continuing to establish new federal protected land, and support Indigenous-led nature conservation
- negotiating Nature Agreements with provincial and territorial governments to advance shared conservation goals
- working with others to protect land and water through programs like
- supporting land owners who want to protect private lands through the Ecological Gifts Program
- supporting Indigenous rights and responsibilities in protecting and conserving ecosystems through the Indigenous Guardians program
- protecting sensitive habitats and improving conditions for 230 species at risk
- recognizing lands that are managed in ways that achieve the conservation of biodiversity as Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures
How you can help
Learn about activities you can do at home to protect nature.
In the news
The Government of Canada to protect more ecologically sensitive land by boosting the Natural Heritage Conservation Program
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