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 with Rob Miskosky

Protecting Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the variety of life found in a place on Earth or, often, the total variety of life on Earth. – Britannica

Aichi Biodiversity Targets are a set of 20 measureable targets agreed to by the “Parties” to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan in October 2010. Canada, with support from provincial and territorial governments, adopted national biodiversity goals and targets to “ further action by all on the conservation and sustainable use of living resources in Canada and provide the basis for measuring and reporting on progress.”

...Canada’s Goal A, Target 1 is “By 2020, at least 17 percent of terrestrial areas and inland water, and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas, are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.”

I wrote the above two paragraphs back in December of 2016 ( Well, it appears that not only Canada, but also all countries that signed on have failed.
According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), “Despite an increase in policies and actions to support biodiversity, indicators show that the drivers of biodiversity loss have worsened and biodiversity further declined between 2011 and 2020. At the global level, none of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets agreed by Parties to the CBD in 2010 have been fully achieved.”


Okay, realistically, the goal was most likely set too high. In Alberta, according to the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), we have protected “15.6% of Alberta’s land base.” They then go on to say, “A far cry from what’s needed to actually conserve biodiversity.”

Which is supposedly 30 percent.

However, now a new study suggests that 30% is too low, suggesting that number needs to be as high as “44 percent of Earth’s land, some 64 million square kilometres.”

Double ouch!

According to the study, “At least 64% of land in North America would need to be conserved, much of that in tundra and boreal forest in Canada...”

“Countries that stand out include Canada, with 84% of its land needing attention...”

Triple ouch!

In December (7-19) of this year, the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) will take place in Montreal, Quebec to “see the adoption of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The framework provides a strategic vision and a global roadmap for the conservation, protection, restoration and sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystems for the next decade.”

“Protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures should be expanded to cover at least 30% of the planet by 2030...”

Which means Canada must protect a further 15 percent of its land base in just the next eight years.

So, just what is a protected area? Well, the ICUN definition is “a clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.”

Which pretty much means an end to any kind of Eastern Slopes footprint, perhaps even hunting and fishing, is coming soon.

Another study (Consequences of recreational hunting for biodiversity conservation and livelihoods) shows that “Human activities are eroding biodiversity and are consequently reducing the benefits provided by nature to people. Unsustainable harvesting and land-use change are historically the most influential drivers of biodiversity loss. When unsustainable, harvesting (e.g., hunting or fishing) of species can lead to population declines and, ultimately, to extinction...”

Hunting, fishing and trapping may very well fall under further scrutiny, as countries move forward to achieve their biodiversity targets. While hunters, anglers and trappers consider themselves a non-threat to biodiversity loss, in fact, we believe we support biodiversity by managing and supporting wildlife populations, there are those who will try to undermine our efforts and use biodiversity loss as a means to end hunting, fishing and trapping.

Decisions made in Montreal need to ensure that hunting, angling and trapping are clearly recognized as important to biodiversity, and not the threat that so many would have you believe.

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