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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.