Action on the ground

This third Action of the ground report provides an overview of our efforts to restore ecological integrity in national parks.

Principles and guidelines for ecological restoration in Canada's protected natural areas

Principles and Guidelines for Ecological Restoration in Canada’s Protected Areas

Principles and guidelines for ecological restoration in Canada’s protected areas is the first-ever Canada-wide guidance for ecological restoration practices. This publication is the result of 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 (SER) International, and SER’s Indigenous Peoples Restoration Network Working Group.


Prescribed burn at Banff National Park

The document was developed to guide policy-makers and practitioners in their efforts to improve ecological integrity in parks and other protected natural areas. Restoration of ecological integrity is the over-arching goal of ecological restoration, but it also includes the meaningful engagement of partners, stakeholders, communities, general public, and visitors. Principles and Guidelines for Ecological Restoration in Canada’s Protected Natural Areas provides a practical framework for making consistent, credible, and informed decisions about ecological restoration. The accompanying case studies demonstrate best practices in the application of these principles, guidelines, and implementation framework.

Why do we restore?

Juvenile salmon in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve

In Canada, protected natural areas are established to protect natural heritage for all Canadians to experience, discover, learn about, and appreciate both now and in the future. Despite this goal, protected areas rarely contain complete, unaltered ecosystems, particularly in densely populated southern regions.

The ecological integrity of protected areas, and thus their ability to conserve biodiversity and natural capital, faces a number of challenges including invasive species, habitat fragmentation, downstream effects of air and water pollution, and global climate change, all of which contribute to degradation of protected area ecosystems.

Ecological restoration provides a way of slowing, halting or reversing ecosystem degradation. Through re-establishing healthy, natural ecosystems, restoration also provides opportunities for Canadians to develop a positive and long-lasting sense of personal connection with nature.

Effective, efficient and engaging

Tree planting at Kejimkujik National Park

The process of ecological restoration in Canada’s protected natural areas should adhere to three guiding principles. It should be:

  1. Effective in restoring and maintaining ecological integrity
  2. Efficient in using practical and economic methods to achieve functional success
  3. Engaging through implementing inclusive processes and by recognizing and embracing interrelationships between culture and nature

These principles of ecological effectiveness, methodological and economic efficiency, and socio-cultural engagement should be interwoven in the application of the guidelines and the framework for planning and implementing ecological restoration.