Lynx without borders
NCC and partners engage in maintaining ecological corridors
As part of the Ecological corridors: a climate change adaptation strategy project, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), along with five other conservation organizations and more than 40 partners, is working to help maintain connectivity corridors between protected areas in southern Quebec. The group met with more than 350 landowners and elected municipal officials over the past two years and will continue their efforts over the next year.
The conservation of these corridors is essential for the movement of lynx and other animals to ensure their survival. For example, lynx must have many habitat areas measuring at least 70 square kilometres each to ensure its needs are met.
Today, the second and last day of a conference organized by the Staying Connected Initiative (SCI), which is a cross-border collaboration of 60 American and Canadian partner organizations, including NCC, is being held in Orford, in the Eastern Townships. The conference brings together close to 60 representatives from NGOs, foundations and government agencies.
Land borders are not barriers for animals, and this is why international collaboration is essential to the success of a connectivity maintenance project.
The lynx: a feline on the hot seat
The lynx requires a large home range, and its survival depends, in part, on maintaining these connectivity zones. It’s an elusive species, not easy to observe. Yet they are present in our forests, particularly in the southeast of the province, after almost becoming extinct in the 1980s due to intensive hunting. The situation had become so critical that the government at the time banned lynx trapping for more than 20 years.
Today, the species seems to be doing well in Quebec, but its survival remains precarious in the Maritime provinces due in part to the loss of its habitat. Indeed, human activities, roads, farms and cities can divide territories and, by the same token, habitats, which results in species isolation.
Other animals such as moose, wolf and bear, emblematic species of Canada’s great outdoors, are also affected. Quebec is known for its rich natural areas and wildlife. We are working to conserve this wealth of species’ habitat now.
Taking action in the context of climate change
With the effects of climate change, it is estimated that species’ habitat in Quebec will shift northward about 45 kilometres per decade. The province could become a climate refuge for several mammals, and, as a result, is likely to play a key role in climate change adaptation on a continental scale.
To counter this threat, it is vital to consolidate and restore connectivity areas now. This includes identifying key areas for species movement; securing properties strategically located in the corridors and to protect them for the long term; integrating these areas into municipal planning regulations; and promoting other citizen science initiatives aimed at protecting ecological corridors.
The Ecological corridors: a climate change adaptation strategy project is funded by the Fonds vert, as part of Action-Climat Québec, a program of the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques stemming from the 2013–2020 Climate Change Action Plan.
The Fondation de la faune du Québec, the ECHO Foundation and the Woodcock Foundation are also financial partners in this project.
NCC is collaborating with five organizations to implement the project: Appalachian Corridor, Laurentian Eco-Corridors, Nature-Action Québec, the Conseil régional de l’environnement du Centre-du-Québec and Horizon-Nature Bas-Saint-Laurent. The Staying Connected Initiative networks with partners in the United States, Quebec and New Brunswick to ensure cross-border connectivity initiatives and to share information and tools.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada’s leading not-for-profit private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC has helped to protect 2.8 million acres (more than 1.1 million hectares) across the country, including 111,197 acres (45,000 hectares) in Quebec.
To learn more about ecological corridors, visit natureconservancy.ca/corridors.
The Fonds vert, where 100 per cent of the earnings generated by carbon market auctions are paid, finances the implementation of the measures outlined in the 2013–2020 Climate Change Action Plan. These projects aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve Quebec society's ability to adapt to the impacts of climate change. To date, the carbon market has generated more than $3 billion in revenue for Quebec, which supports the province’s businesses, municipalities, institutions and citizens in their transition to a lower carbon world.
The Staying Connected Initiative is an international collaboration that works to preserve forest connectivity at the landscape scale in the Northern Appalachian and Acadian region for the benefit of nature and the people who live there. Sixty organizations representing five American states and three Canadian provinces work to conserve habitat connectivity and the many ecological, social and economic benefits associated with healthy, interconnected natural environments. http://stayingconnectedinitiative.org/
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