Annex: Natural climate solutions
Nature-based solutions - such as planting trees and enhancing the natural ability of ecosystems such as forests, grasslands, wetlands, and agricultural lands to sequester and store carbon - can fight climate change as well as provide many co-benefits for nature and society. For example, beyond carbon sequestration, wetlands provide essential services such as controlling floods, recharging groundwater and maintaining stream flows, filtering pollutants, and reducing erosion. The Government of Canada has committed to protecting 25% of Canada’s land and oceans by 2025, and working toward 30% by 2030. These efforts will be grounded in science, Indigenous knowledge and local perspectives, and will continue to support partnerships with provinces and territories, municipalities and Indigenous communities across the country. The establishment of new Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) and Indigenous Guardians programs will continue to be a key priority. By conserving, restoring and improving management practices in carbon-rich ecosystems, these actions will achieve important benefits for Canadians and nature, including building climate resilience and supporting mental health and well-being through increased access to nature. Moving forward, efforts will build on the solid expertise and partnerships to-date in managing and conserving Canada’s forests, ecosystems and agricultural lands.
Key measures to date
- Made the single-largest investment in nature conservation in Canadian history, in 2018, with the $1.3 billion Canada’s Nature Legacy, which includes the Canada Nature Fund. Canada is now on track to conserve nearly 17% of land and freshwater by 2023.
- Invested over $200 million, in partnership with provinces and territories under the Low Carbon Economy Fund, to help plant 150 million trees after natural disturbances, and implement changes in forest management.
- Launched the $2 billion Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, which includes funding for natural infrastructure.
- Canada’s managed forests and the associated wood products sequester about 14 million tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHGs) per year.
- From 2015-2020, protected and conserved land and freshwater in Canada grew from 10.5% to 12.1%, an area more than three times the size of Nova Scotia; protected and conserved marine areas grew from 0.92% to 13.8%, surpassing Canada’s 10% marine conservation target.
- Through Canada Nature Fund investments, work to establish 30 Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas covering 285,000 km2 has been initiated.
- Since 1986, Habitat Joint Ventures partnerships have conserved 9.3 million hectares of wetlands.
- Canada has led international efforts to scale up nature-based climate solutions, including through its work with the Global Commission on Adaptation.
A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy contains new measures for natural climate solutions
- Investing up to $3.16 billion over 10 years, to partner with provinces, territories, non-government organizations, Indigenous communities, municipalities, private landowners, and others to plant two billion trees. These trees will be planted across Canada, on provincial and federal Crown lands, in cities and communities, on farms and on private rural and urban lands.
- Investing up to $631 million over 10 years to work with provinces, territories, conservation organizations, Indigenous communities, private landowners, and others to restore and enhance wetlands, peatlands, grasslands and agricultural lands to boost carbon sequestration. This initiative will support improved land and resource management practices in sectors that have some of the greatest potential for increased carbon storage, and will conserve carbon-rich ecosystems.
- Providing $98.4 million over 10 years to establish a new Natural Climate Solutions for Agriculture Fund. This fund will leverage $85 million in existing programming and will be guided by a new Canadian Agri-Environmental Strategy, to be developed in collaboration with partners, to support the sector’s actions on climate change and other environmental priorities towards 2030 and 2050.
- Appointing an advisory committee of experts on nature-based climate solutions to advise on program delivery to maximize emission reductions, while also delivering biodiversity and human wellbeing co-benefits.
- Continuing to move forward with delivering on the commitment to conserve and protect 25% of Canada’s land and 25% of Canada’s oceans by 2025, working towards 30% of each by 2030. The Government will ground these efforts in science, Indigenous knowledge, and local perspectives. It will also advocate for countries around the world to set a 30% conservation goal as well.
- Continuing to support partnerships with Indigenous communities across the country through the establishment of new Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas and Indigenous Guardians programs.
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