© Frank Parhizgar / WWF-Canada Beaver at water's edge in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario,

HABITAT

Habitat loss, a major driver of both wildlife loss and climate change, is one of the greatest threats to life on Earth.

Conserving Habitat to Prevent Wildlife Loss and Climate Change

In Canada, 84 per cent of habitats with high concentrations of at-risk species and three-quarters of habitats with high densities of stored carbon are inadequately or not at all protected. Inadequate protections leave habitats vulnerable to fragmentation and loss due to multiple long-term threats. These threats include climate change, over extraction and diversion of water from lakes and rivers, and conversions of natural habitat ranging from clearing forests and draining wetlands to building reservoirs and mines. Habitat damage or loss is a significant driver of wildlife loss and carbon emissions.

© Shutterstock Arctic skyline over water

Arctic

Sea ice is the foundation of Arctic life, and as it disappears, everything is changing. Ice-dependent species such as polar bears, seals and whales are watching their habitats shrink, move and change. In the face of a changing climate, WWF-Canada is working to help Arctic ecosystems stay in balance.

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© Shutterstock Tide rolling on to the beach

Ocean

Centuries of overuse and neglect threaten to leave us with a vast blue wasteland. We urgently need smart ocean management plans that will protect important ocean ecosystems. WWF-Canada is advocating for protection in priority regions and working with industry on lasting solutions.

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© Tommy Larey / Shutterstock Freshwater in Canada

Freshwater

Canada’s freshwater systems are facing increasing pressure every day from pollution, habitat loss, invasive species and climate change – among other threats. WWF-Canada is working towards a future where all Canadian waters are in good condition.

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© Marc Sardi Budding leaves on branch

Urban Areas

As urban areas grow in population and size, pristine natural spaces disappear. WWF-Canada is working to protect and restore biodiversity in Canadian cities while raising awareness of the importance of building resilience to climate change.

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Addressing Habitat Loss in Canada

Wildlife simply cannot survive in increasingly degraded and destroyed habitats. Alongside Indigenous, local and national partners, WWF-Canada works for the conservation and stewardship of ecologically important marine and terrestrial areas, the creation of protected area networks and the restoration of habitats across the country. While we’ve come a long way, there is much more that must be done to ensure a safe and healthy future for nature and people.

WWF-Canada has an ambitious 10-year goal to restore one million hectares of damaged habitats and steward and protect one hundred million hectares of vital ecosystems for wildlife, climate and nature.

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© Andrew S. Wright / WWF-Canada Trees in the Great Bear Rain forest, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada.

What Are Nature-Based Solutions?

The dual crises of biodiversity loss and climate change are a growing threat to wildlife and people. Luckily, nature already provides us with many of the solutions we need to tackle both issues. Nature-based solutions such as protected areas and habitat restoration can help protect at-risk species and important ecosystems while simultaneously helping us store (and keep) carbon in the ground and oceans.

© Mike Workman / Shutterstock

What Are Protected Areas?

Protected areas are a vital component of any conservation strategy. These spaces act as refuges for species that cannot survive in managed landscapes and as areas where natural ecological processes can continue unhampered by human interference. They are a vital resource for the continuation of natural evolution and, in many parts of the world, for future ecological restoration.

We’re working to protect vital ecosystems to ensure long-lasting networks of well-protected habitats for at-risk species. Find out more

© George Aklah/WWF-Canada Taloyoak

Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas

According to the Indigenous Circle of Experts, Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) are “lands and waters where Indigenous governments have the primary role in protected and conserving ecosystems through Indigenous laws, governance, and knowledge systems. They are Indigenous led, represent a long-term commitment to conservation, and elevate Indigenous rights and responsibilities.”

WWF-Canada believes that Indigenous-led conservation is the most effective, equitable and efficient way to safeguard  nature.

Find out more about our work with Indigenous partners.

 

 

©L. Matthais/WWF-Canada Wetland expert Tom Biebighauser sowing seeds in newly created wetland habitat.

Why is Restoration Important?

Habitat fragmentation and loss is one of the biggest threats to wildlife across Canada — and rare species face the greatest risk. In some highly developed areas of the country, wildlife simply doesn’t have the natural habitat they need to thrive.

We’re working to restore lost or threatened habitats, which will safeguard wildlife and sequester carbon in nature. Find out more.

© Mark Hobson / WWF Child standing in temperate rainforest, British Columbia, Canada

Wildlife Protection Assessment: A National Habitat Crisis

WWF-Canada used the best available science and data to document how well Canada’s ecosystems, wildlife habitats and natural carbon stores are being protected. We found that across Canada, major opportunities to protect habitat and combat climate change are being overlooked.

Read the report