A 2020 poll found 70 per cent of Canadians want conservation of nature included as part of the economic recovery. Canadians are rightly concerned about the daunting environmental challenges that threaten our long-term health and prosperity, such as climate change, deforestation, water contamination, and ecosystem decline.
The Carolinian Zone is the most biodiverse and threatened ecoregion in Canada. The Big Picture Report Card Discussion Paper (Jalava 2015) shows we need to double existing natural infrastructure to meet recommended minimum targets for healthy landscapes. With over 150 species at risk, some of the best agricultural resources, a dense human population, and Canada's lowest levels of protected land (<3%), the challenge is huge and has been articulated in our Big Picture Challenge.
Carolinian Canada’s network co-developed 16 Conservation Action Plans (CAP) with 150 partners for biodiversity hotspots in the Zone. Together these plans represent Canada’s largest ecosystem recovery program in terms of species and partners. Healthy landscapes address CAP priority objectives for 500 rare and endangered species in the Zone.
More and more, the conservation community is recognizing that traditional funding models can’t keep pace with the need for conservation capital. At a time of modest public funding and limited philanthropic dollars, innovative funding and financing strategies hold great promise in narrowing the gap between the financial resources that are available and the scale of the conservation need.