Since 1984

The "Big Picture"    
Conservation Programs

Carolinian Canada is a coalition of conservation groups working to conserve the ecological diversity of Canada's most threatened natural region.

From 1984-1994, Carolinian Canada funded land acquisition and stewardship projects directed at conserving 38 critical natural areas. These programs resulted in private landowners agreeing to conserve over 15,000 acres and acquisition of 2,000 acres by conservation groups. Public education and scientific studies were also undertaken.

In 1996, Carolinian Canada developed a conservation strategy to guide its activities in education and conservation. Based on that strategy, Carolinian Canada promotes innovative and comprehensive approaches to conserving our natural heritage. The "Big Picture" project is a state-of-the-art combination of conservation science and computerized mapping technology used to develop a system of natural areas across the entire Carolinian Zone. Carolinian Canada is promoting a region-wide natural heritage system as the basis for Smart Growth.

On specific areas and species, Carolinian Canada works primarily through its member organizations to conserve habitat. Conserving this ecological diversity requires a wide variety of tools and programs. And different organizations take different approaches.

Land use planning by municipalities is an important tool for deciding what areas are developed and which remain in a natural state. Nowadays, land use plans often include natural heritage systems plans that plan systems of natural areas and connecting habitat corridors for each municipality or watershed. Carolinian Canada's "Big Picture" system of core natural areas and connections is a natural heritage system that stretches across the entire ecological region. "Smart Growth" is a new term used to describe an approach to planning that emphasizes efficient use of existing communities so as to conserve habitat and prevent urban sprawl.

Securing key natural areas often requires purchase by conservation organizations such as Ontario Parks, Canadian Wildlife Service, Conservation Authorities or private land trusts or naturalists clubs. These parks, protected areas and conservation lands only comprise 1.5 percent of the Carolinian zone, but offer some of the best places to experience Carolinian species and habitats. Conservation easements are a means of conserving habitat on private land in perpetuity through purchase or donation of a partial interest in private land.

Private landowners own most Carolinian natural areas and their stewardship has conserved these habitats to the present. Carolinian Canada initiated one of the first private land stewardship programs in Canada in the 1980s. Today, many conservation groups work with landowners to provide information and assist landowners in making good conservation choices for their properties.

Farmers face particular challenges in making a living from their land and conserving habitat as well. The Environmental Farm Plan program is tailored to assisting farmers in developing a comprehensive environmental plan for their lands. Many rural water quality programs also offer financial incentives to farmers for water quality and habitat improvements.

Both federal and provincial governments have Species-at-Risk programs to conserve rare, threatened and endangered species--of which Carolinian Canada has many. Over 125 species in Carolinian Canada are considered vulnerable, special concern, threatened or endangered by either the federal or provincial government. Over 400 other species in Carolinian Canada are considered rare.

Ensuring species and habitats are maintained or restored is an ongoing challenge. Some habitats depend on natural processes like fire that humans have suppressed over the last two centuries. Prairies and savannas require periodic burning to maintain their integrity and to renew many prairie species. Managing woodlands using ecological approaches is promoted by Carolinian Canada as is ecological restoration through ecologically appropriate planting of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.

Coastal Zone Program    
Land Use Planning    
Securing Conservation Land
Private Land Stewardship
Species at Risk Conservation Programs
Conservation Strategy    

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