Stewardship and legal protection of conservation lands in Canada’s southern landscapes is critically important to achieving national biodiversity targets and supporting climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. As most lands within these landscapes are privately owned, non-governmental land conservation organizations have a key role to play if these objectives are to be met. This report focuses on the need for these organizations to have the capacity to operate sustainably to provide long-term, durable stewardship and legal protection of their conservation lands and agreements.
The benefits of ensuring a healthy and thriving private land conservation community extend beyond protected area targets and biodiversity conservation to include maintenance of irreplaceable natural infrastructure and ecosystem services that help to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, regulate water quality and quantity and mitigate the effects of extreme weather events that can lead to flooding and drought. Importantly, these lands also provide recreational opportunities and places for outdoor activities, contributing to human health and well-being, a particularly important benefit in the context of the ongoing global pandemic.
Canada now has more than 150 non-governmental organizations working on the ground from coast to coast to coast to protect ecologically important lands and conserve biological diversity. They manage
a significant conservation estate and work hard to sustainably manage and protect their lands and agreements. Nevertheless, these organizations continue to voice concerns related to the long-term stewardship and legal protection of their conservation properties and agreements.