It’s a sad fact: our planet is currently going through a “biodiversity crisis”. Plant and animal species are disappearing at a rate unequalled since the extinction of the dinosaurs. We must act quickly to counter this trend – that is why conservation of our natural heritage is the heart of the CPAWS mission.
Protected areas are effective and necessary tools to ensure biodiversity is maintained. A protected area is a portion of land or water where industrial activity (such as mining, hydroelectric installations, logging) is not permitted. Parks form a special category of protected areas; typically they provide recreation, tourism and awareness-building activities. In Quebec, there are more than 20 different types of protected areas (biodiversity reserves, ecological reserves, etc.). They represent most of the 8.52% of the province that is protected.
At the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan in 2010, the international community set a target of designating 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas as protected areas by 2020. As of October 2012, 8.52% of Quebec has been protected, which is near the provincial average in Canada. The Government of Quebec has committed to reaching the 12% level for protected areas by 2015. It is the only province which has adopted a specific percentage for marine protected areas.
CPAWS Quebec works to improve the network of protected areas in Quebec. Our experience in conservation is well recognized. For example, the former Quebec's Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks appointed CPAWS Quebec to the Table de Concertation sur la Conservation, an Advisory Committee composed of experts in the field. In the large portion of Quebec affected by the developpement of the North, we work to ensure that ecologically and culturally significant sites are identified and protected before unrestrained industrial development occurs. We are also encouraging the Quebec Government to immediately protect important sites such as the Nastapoka, Broadback, and Magpie rivers, the Evans Lake area, and to preserve at least two mountainous forests comprising more than 10,000 km2, home to woodland caribou.
*French to English translation www.superphrase.com