The "Big Picture"    
Securing Natural Areas through Acquisition

Shagbark hickorySecuring our best natural areas often requires purchase by public agencies as national, provincial or regional protected areas or by non-profit conservation organizations such as land trusts. Conservation easements are a means of acquiring a partial interest property, rather than outright purchase. Not all natural areas can or should be secured in these ways, but a system of permanent protected areas should include many natural areas in the Carolinian zone. Private land stewardship and land use planning will also provide conservation for a large number of natural areas.

National Parks like Point Pelee and National Wildlife Areas like Long Point and St. Clair are areas where the federal government have protected some of Carolinian Canada's best habitat. National Marine Conservation Areas are a new type of protected area to protected important aquatic habitats in the Great Lakes and ocean coasts. Carolinian Canada hopes a National Marine Conservation Area will be established for Lake Erie. Nature Conservancy of Canada has worked with the federal government to secure natural areas such as Middle Island which is now managed s part of Point Pelee National Park.

The federal government also offers the EcoGift income tax incentive for landowners wishing to donate ecologically significant land to conservation groups. The Eastern Habitat Joint Venture also brings together U.S. and Canadian federal and provincial governments and private organizations to secure waterbird habitat.

Ontario Parks has a network of 20 provincial parks across the Carolinian zone that protect many key habitats and provide recreation for many of us. Rondeau, Short Hills, Ojibway Prairie and Turkey Point protect some of the best Carolinian habitat. Nature reserve class provincial parks protect particularly sensitive habitats and species. The Ministry of Natural Resources also secures conservation reserves and provincial wildlife areas. St. Williams Crown Land has recently been proposed as a conservation reserve and would be one of the largest protected areas in the region. The provincial Ecological Land Acquisition Program provides funding for land and easement acquisition by many different conservation groups.

Sassafras leafConservation lands owned by conservation authorities cover about 8,000 hectares in the Carolinian zone, by far the largest amount of conservation land in the region. Many of these areas were among the 1984 Carolinian Canada critical natural areas. Backus Woods, Springwater Forest, Dundas Valley, Skunk's Misery are among only a few of many sites across the region. Municipalities, the Ontario Heritage Foundation, Niagara Parks Commission and other public sector organizations also own significant conservation lands in the region.

Nature Conservancy of Canada has secured many natural areas across the Carolinian zone, often under partnership with Ontario Parks or other public agencies. Bickford Oak Woods, Clear Creek Forest and Middle Island are among some of the major land acquisition projects in the last few years. Private land trusts and naturalists' clubs are a growing force in securing conservation lands across Ontario and have banded together as the Ontario Land Trust Alliance.

Coastal Zone Program    
Land Use Planning    
Securing Conservation Land    
Private Land Stewardship    
Species at Risk Conservation Programs    
Conservation Strategy
Grey Headed Coneflower: Ross Brown

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