New growth in a burnt forest, Yukon, Hilary Cooke / WCS Canada
New growth in a burnt forest, Yukon © Hilary Cooke / WCS Canada

Conservation planning

WCS Canada helps to shape land use planning and impact assessment policy.

Our research makes the case for nature conservation and supports bigger picture planning approaches. Regional and cumulative impact assessments and holistic land-use planning processes are our best tools for ensuring wild areas are not subject to death by a thousand cuts.

The Challenges

A need for big-picture thinking

  • Canada has some of the largest intact wild areas remaining on the planet. But the continued existence of these areas is not the result of good planning, but simply due to the sheer size of this country and the concentration of our population in southern areas.

  • These areas are Indigenous homelands. Our work supports the protection of Traditional Territories and their significant ecological and cultural values.

  • Current planning processes often don’t look at the big picture: what’s at stake and how new projects will add to other pressures on wild species, like climate change. They focus too much on reducing harm instead of making sure development is truly sustainable – for nature, people and the economy. This approach is leading to a steady loss of biodiversity throughout Canada.

Our Solutions

Addressing development impacts at meaningful scales

  • We use our scientific knowledge to address biodiversity and climate impacts in different sectors. Our expertise helps to form and change impact assessment policies, conservation-based land use planning and protected areas.

  • We’re working closely with several First Nations in northern Canada to support conservation planning.

  • We provide expertise and scientific knowledge on managing the impacts of development.

  • We also consider climate adaptation in conservation planning.

Finding critical areas for biodiversity

  • Our Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) program identifies areas with high biodiversity values that need improved stewardship. These areas can be in the heart of large urban areas or in remote landscapes. So far, we’ve identified more than 1,000 KBAs across Canada.

Projects

Ring of Fire

Ring of Fire

More than minerals at stake

Yukon Climate Change

Yukon Climate Change

Why we need to plan for a changing climate and landscape

Resources


Stories and op-eds

Public Policy Developments WCS Canada is watching in 2024
2024-02-13

Public Policy Developments WCS Canada is watching in 2024

In this rundown of upcoming initiatives, we look ahead at some of the big public policy decisions expected in 2024 and explain what outcomes we will be pressing for from each. 
Tracking policy developments is just as important as tracking wildlife
2024-02-05

Tracking policy developments is just as important as tracking wildlife

Releasing a wolverine from a live trap can really get your heart pounding. Providing comments on a government policy, a lot less so.
More than minerals at stake in Ontario’s claim-staking boom
2023-12-19

More than minerals at stake in Ontario’s claim-staking boom

With a click of a mouse, mining interests have laid claim to more than 72,000 square kilometres of land in northern Ontario over the last five years.
Constance O'Connor

Media coverage

Thriving Forests, Thriving Caribou Populations

Justina Ray, President and Senior Scientist at WCS Canada, on what caribou conservation strategies look like in practice.
2024-02-22 | Wildlands League

Area covered by mining claims in Ontario’s ‘Ring of Fire’ increased by 30 per cent in one year

“I’m worried the increase in mining claims will lead to more exploration activities within the region and that those exploration activities, which are largely unchecked, will lead to irreversible damage to the peatlands within the region,” says Lorna Harris.
2023-12-04 | Global News

Our team

Justina Ray

Justina Ray

President & Senior Scientist

Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle

Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle

Co-Director, Northern Boreal Mountains Program

Hilary Cooke

Hilary Cooke

Co-Director, Northern Boreal Mountains Program


Press releases

Wildlife Conservation Society Canada’s Justina Ray wins 2022 Conservation Leadership Award
2022-11-01

Wildlife Conservation Society Canada’s Justina Ray wins 2022 Conservation Leadership Award

The Wilburforce Foundation presented one of four 2022 Conservation Leadership Awards (CLA) to Dr. Justina Ray.