Protected Forever?

In light of the importance of private conservation lands to achieving Canada’s biodiversity goals—and to accelerate the trajectory towards these goals—governments continue to support the work of the private land conservation community. With the anticipated adoption of a Global Biodiversity Framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity in December 2022 and the likely establishment of even more challenging goals, and ongoing concerns voiced by private land conservation organizations, it is an optimal time to examine in more depth the stewardship and legal protection challenges faced by them and identify opportunities to address these challenges in the best possible way.


Through a contract with Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Centre Land Conservation (CLC) conducted a situational analysis focused on the stewardship and legal protection of private conservation lands and agreements to ensure that the conservation benefits of these properties are sustained over the long term. The analysis comprises information provided by private land conservation organizations and external experts, and builds on previous consultations conducted by the CLC. Participating organizations ranged from community based, with few or no staff, to regional and national in scope.


The report reflects active, ongoing and spirited conversations within the private land conservation sector. More details on the results of the consultations and information gathering are found in the Stewardship and Legal Protection parts of the report. As models to prompt discussion and development of ideas and suggestions, the Stewardship section includes information on the Canada Cultural Investment Fund and the Legal Protection section describes an insurance program developed specifically for U.S. land trusts known as Terrafirma. Key learnings and a summary of the recommendations follows.