Land, water protection lagging: wildlife group

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One of the country's leading environmental groups called on Manitoba and the rest of Canada to pick up the pace on parks.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/07/2017 (1953 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

One of the country’s leading environmental groups called on Manitoba and the rest of Canada to pick up the pace on parks.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society released a report Monday on the state of protected areas in the country, calling on Canada and the provinces to step up efforts to preserve more land by 2020.

“With only 10.6 per cent of its landscape currently protected, Canada lags behind the global average of 15 per cent, and also trails other countries such China, Brazil and Australia,” said the national agency in its announcement. Canada ranks last among G-7 countries in the percentage of land and freshwater protected for conservation purposes, according to multiple sources cited in the report.

THE CANADIAN PRESS ARCHIVES A new report says the federal and provincial governments must do more to protect water and land. It says China has more protected areas than Canada.

Ron Thiessen, the society’s executive director in Manitoba, said that as incredible as it may sound, those sources confirm Canada lags behind countries, such as China, on the environment.

China, despite its record of environmental degradation, has set aside 17 per cent of its land for protection.

“That means completely off-limits to industry,” Thiessen said. “It’s embarrassing that Canada lags behind them.”

The report recognizes that federal and provincial governments are starting to act on an environment commitment made years ago.

In 2010, as part of a worldwide effort to stem the tide of biodiversity loss, Canada committed under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity to protect at least 17 per cent of its land and inland water by 2020.

After years of inaction, federal, provincial and territorial leaders announced in February they are committed to work together to honour the target, a development the society recognized as a positive step in its report.

In Manitoba, just over 11 per cent of land and inland water are currently protected. The province’s Conservative government gets the society’s nod of approval for acknowledging that accredited protected areas are the most effective and economical way to protect wildlife and safeguard pristine areas.

“As the boreal covers 80 per cent of Manitoba and is the most carbon-dense terrestrial ecosystem on Earth, balancing conservation with sustainable developments offers the best opportunity to address multiple government priorities and commitments,” the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society said in its statement.

Thiessen added that thousands of hectares in the north are designated as resource-management areas, and if the province started working with Indigenous and other groups now to develop land-use management plans, it could sew up its UN target by 2020.

The society is the only national charity dedicated to the protection of public land and water.

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca

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