What is restoration? The work behind the word

When thinking of restoration, you probably picture conservation teams planting trees or shoring up coastlines. While these activities are important, they’re also only part of WWF-Canada’s wide-ranging efforts to bring back biodiversity.

At its core, restoration is the process of taking natural areas that have been degraded by human activities or converted to human uses and returning them to states that better support biodiversity and carbon storage. But what those actions actually look like is as varied as the landscape itself.

Rainbow over a salmon spawning channel in a BC coastal rainforest
Newly built salmon spawning channel in the Upper Pitt watershed, Katzie First Nation territory, BC © Joshua Ostroff / WWF-Canada

In B.C.’s Lower Fraser Valley, we’ve expanded a partnership with Katzie First Nation, who have been leading efforts to recover forestry- and climate-impacted salmon habitat throughout the Upper Pitt watershed since 2019.

Here, restoration means clearing blocked streams, strengthening banks with native plants, using logs to create shade and reduce water temperatures, and even creating new spawning channels. And it works: salmon are already using the restored habitat.

Restoration also happens on B.C.’s coasts, where you’re supporting the planting of carbon-storing seagrass meadows that reconnect once-lost marine habitat.

And technology is further bolstering our efforts — our work supporting the Secwepemcúl’ecw Restoration and Stewardship Society, who are restoring wildfire-damaged forests in Secwépemc territory, includes using carbon-monitoring tech to measure sequestration and track restoration success.

Staff members, Ashton Howe and Brooklynne King shuttle trees to a planting site along Passekeag Creek at the Gaunce farm
© Kennebecasis Watershed Restoration Committee (KWRC)

On the other side of the country, in Sussex, N.B., we’re supporting the Kennebecasis Watershed Restoration Committee as its members plant native shrubs and trees to stabilize riverbanks and improve habitat for at-risk species both in and out of the water so that species such as Atlantic salmon and monarch butterflies both benefit.

In southern Ontario and Quebec, restoration can mean investing in some of the country’s most densely populated areas to recover meadow and grassland habitats. These efforts reconnect fragmented habitat for species like the earth-dwelling bumblebee — a pollinating powerhouse — along major hydro line corridors.

Across the country, restoration happens in the form of sharing skills and knowledge — and even seeds — with researchers, governments, Indigenous partners and businesses so that they can work together to maintain the health of these habitats over time.

And, of course, it can happen by growing native plants at your own home or community greenspaces. Our free re:grow program offers great info and how-to gardening guides no matter where you live in Canada, and you can track your actions and watch the collective impact grow.

In other words, restoration’s roots run deep — and thanks to your support, they extend far and wide.