The “Thousand Acres” of the Challenge has a good start, even in a pandemic year. We’re working hard not just to reach 1,000 acres, but until enough rich habitat is conserved to protect the complex web of life that is so special to this region. Today, when you add up all of the lands of the national park, the provincial park, conservation authority lands and land trust lands – we’re barely protecting 5% of this region.
How much is “enough” habitat? Around the world, science agrees that 30% of any landmass is the basic threshold. We’ve a long way to go. But, it’s more than just quantity. Quality and strategic thinking are critical. This is extra important to consider now, as mankind has altered more that 50% of the land on the planet.
The old way of thinking about protected spaces was to put land in parks, owned by governments as caretakers. Canada is blessed with a great number of fabulous national and provincial parks, one of each in the TIWLT area. But it’s not enough, by a long shot, to effectively conserve biodiversity. In our ever-developing and heavily used landscape, parks can become islands of nature – isolated. Connectivity is vital. Nature needs spaces for migration and growth.
Across Canada, a growing network of land trusts and conservancies focuses on helping landowners find best conservation solutions for the land they love. Today’s best conservation work comes from the people of your community. Land trusts bring the tools together to make it happen. But it’s landowners that are the real heroes.
In the Thousand Acre Challenge, TIWLT connects with these local heroes. Their forests and fields and wetlands are wildlife rich, places that help connect protected spaces of parks, conservation lands and other land trust properties. When high-quality lands and clear strategy come together, we all win.
Clean water to drink, clean air to breathe, flood control, pollination of our food crops – all free services of nature to us, but only if nature is in top health. Nature surrounds us – we must protect our surroundings. Conserving nature protects your health, wealth and happiness.