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Principles and Guidelines for Ecological Restoration in Canada's Protected Natural Areas

Principles and Guidelines for Ecological Restoration in Canada's Protected Natural Areas cover image.
© Parks Canada

Protected natural areas are established to protect natural heritage and to provide opportunities for all Canadians, present and future, to experience, discover, learn and appreciate. They play a critical role in the conservation of biodiversity and natural capital and provide diverse environmental, social, and economic benefits that contribute to human well-being.

Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial parks and protected areas agencies have become established as leaders in the field of protection of natural heritage and the provision of memo-rable visitor experience and learning opportunities. They also recognize that challenges such as incompatible land uses, habitat fragmentation, invasive alien species, air and water pollution, and climate change impacts, threaten the ecological integrity of some protected areas ecosystems. Ecological restoration helps parks and protected areas agencies respond to these challenges. It re-establishes the ecological values of impaired ecosystems and creates opportunities for meaningful engagement and experiences that contribute to deeper understanding and appreciation and connect the public, communities, and visitors to these special places.

The Canadian Parks Council provides a Canada-wide forum for intergovernmental information sharing and action on parks and protected areas. The development of Principles and Guidelines for Ecological Restoration in Canada’s Protected Natural Areas is an initiative under its 2006 Strategic Direction to advance the protection efforts of member agencies.

These Principles and Guidelines for Ecological Restoration in Canada’s Protected Natural Areas represent the first-ever Canada-wide guidance for ecological restoration practices. They result from collaboration among experts and managers from Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial parks and protected areas agencies, Canadian and international universities, the US National Park Service, the Society for Ecological Restoration International (SER), and SER’s Indigenous Peoples Restoration Network Working Group.

These principles and guidelines describe an approach to restoration that will ensure that parks and protected areas continue to safeguard ecological integrity while providing opportunities for meaningful engagement and experiences that connect the public, communities, and visitors to these special places and help ensure their relevance into the future. They constitute an important tool for making consistent, credible and informed decisions regarding the management of issues of common concern to parks and protected areas agencies in Canada and internationally.

The members of the Canadian Parks Council are proud to endorse these principles and guidelines and encourage individual jurisdictions to apply them as appropriate to their own mandates, policies, and priorities.