Ecology Action Centre Applauds Government investment in Protected Areas
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
The Ecology Action Centre is applauding yesterday’s provincial government announcement of more funding for the purchase of important conservation areas on private land. The Department of Environment, Protected Areas Division will have a land acquisition budget next year of $6.5 million. This is a six-fold increase in the department’s normally small acquisition budget and is welcome news as the province continues to make solid progress on reaching its protected areas commitments.
“This is terrific news. We are very pleased to see this smart investment in conservation by the government”, says EAC Wilderness Coordinator Raymond Plourde. “This builds on the success of the Large Land Purchase Program of 2009 and allows the province to purchase and protect important areas on private land that would otherwise be lost to development.”
“Crown land accounts for only 30% of the total provincial land mass”, says Plourde. “Obviously there are going to be key ecological features and important wildlife habitat areas that occur on the other 70%. And these areas also need to be protected. Buying those special areas from willing landowners and bringing them it into the protected areas network is the best way for government to do this.”
The provincial goal, enshrined in law through the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, is to reach 12% legal protection by 2015. This commitment stems from being a part of Canada’s international commitment made at the United Nations famous Rio Earth Summit back in 1992. It is meant to fulfill our part in a global effort to halt the steep decline in biodiversity worldwide. “Nova Scotia is currently in the middle of the pack nationally at 8.6% but is building momentum towards reaching that minimum threshold,” says Plourde.
Protecting the best of our remaining wild places has the added benefits of providing wonderful natural areas for present and future generations of Nova Scotians to explore, appreciate and enjoy. Although industrial development such as forestry, mining, road building, etc. is prohibited, provincial Wilderness Areas are open to the public for a wide variety of low-impact recreational activities including hiking, camping, skiing, fishing, hunting, etc.
“Buying land is always a smart investment,” says Plourde. “Buying land for conservation is an even better long-term investment. We applaud the government on making this wise investment in conservation.”