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Ontario’s review of Endangered Species Act must address long-term ecosystem damage

Ontario’s review of Endangered Species Act must address long-term ecosystem damage
(January 31, 2019) Are protections for endangered species just another bureaucratic burden that is holding back economic development in Ontario? That’s the below-the-surface premise that seems to lie behind the Ford government’s latest action to “streamline” environmental regulation in this province. Last week, the government announced a review of the Endangered Species Act, saying that the current act is “unclear, administratively burdensome, time consuming and costly for applic...

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Mapping the decline of Canada’s caribou

Mapping the decline of Canada’s caribou
(October 30, 2018) “Caribou: one hoof in the grave.” So read the epitaph on a two-metre-high tombstone Greenpeace erected in front of federal environment and climate change minister Catherine McKenna’s office on May 1, 2018. The stunt aimed to draw attention to the plight of the country’s boreal woodland caribou, the protection of which has faced “many delays” according to a mid-April 2018 report from the federal environment commissioner.All of Canada’s caribou s...

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A whale of a problem developing in Canada’s Arctic

A whale of a problem developing in Canada’s Arctic
(October 01, 2018)  The horrors of right whales drowning in tangles of fishing ropes and the alarming prospect of endangered orcas crossing paths with oil-laden tankers has created more than a few headaches for the federal government. From the Atlantic to the Pacific, the feds have been forced to respond to public—and legal—demands that more be done to save threatened cetaceans.But Canada actually borders three oceans and it is in that often overlooked third ocean—the Arctic—that the f...

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Keeping carbon on the ground

Keeping carbon on the ground
(September 12, 2018) To mark the Global Climate Action Summit, WCS scientists have authored a series of blogs about how we are working with Indigenous Peoples to advance conservation and climate action, from the Congo to Canada’s Boreal.  In the final part of the series, WCS Canada’s Cheryl Chetkiewicz looks at the important role of boreal forests, wetlands and peatlands in storing carbon and how Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas could play a central role in helping t...

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Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas and Climate Change in Canada’s Boreal Forest

Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas and Climate Change in Canada’s Boreal Forest
(September 12, 2018) At 5.6 million square kilometres, Canada’s boreal region is one of the largest forests in the world and one of the Earth’s most important forest carbon storehouses, making it critical to the global effort to address climate change. The boreal forest contains almost twice as much carbon per unit area as tropical forests.In addition to the carbon stored in surface vegetation, carbon has accumulated and been conserved over millennia in the soils, wetlands, peatlands, and permafrost &nda...

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Taking it slow can help reduce impacts of Arctic shipping on whales

Taking it slow can help reduce impacts of Arctic shipping on whales
(August 28, 2018) For 19th-century adventurers like Sir John Franklin, navigating a path through the ice-choked Northwest Passage — the Holy Grail of Arctic exploration — was a treacherous and often deadly undertaking. Today, thanks to climate change, traveling through the passage is quickly becoming another exotic option for cruise ship passengers — and an enticing shortcut for cargo ships.But an increasingly ice-free Arctic means more than just a chance for a new sightseeing adventure: Signifi...

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Opinion: Everyone can help Alberta's bats

Opinion: Everyone can help Alberta's bats
(July 31, 2018) Alberta has more than just oil and gas underground - it also has the largest bat hobernaculum found in the boreal forest in Western Canada. Hundreds of bat hibernate in a muddy cave carved out of bedrock by weak sulphuric acid northeast of Edmonton. It may not sound like the most luxurious living space but it is safe. It may not be for much longer.

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As deadly white-nose syndrome spreads west, bat biologists race to prepare

As deadly white-nose syndrome spreads west, bat biologists race to prepare
(July 18, 2018) "Spring is a time when life bursts forth. We see new growth, births, and the emergence of hibernating animals. But as a bat biologist, spring is now a season of dread for me. Once again this year, I found myself awaiting news of the spread of deadly white-nose syndrome (WNS). We have learned that the fungus that causes this disease, attacking bats as they overwinter, has continued its westward march, appearing for the first time this year in Manitoba, Wyoming and Minnesota. T...

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A sustainable plan for Ontario's Ring of Fire

A sustainable plan for Ontario's Ring of Fire
(July 17, 2018) How can Ontario best approach the development of the mineral-rich Ring of Fire in the Far North of Ontario? How do we protect the millions of tonnes of carbon stored in peatlands and forests in the area?  How do we intelligently design infrastructure to ensure maximum benefit and minimum impact on ecosystems?If new mining projects and all-weather roads are to be accepted by First Nations communities and others who care about the future of the region, they will need to be planned in ways tha...

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A big fish story - in maps!

A big fish story - in maps!
(June 20, 2018) Freshwater fish are swimming upstream in a battle against everything from climate change to increased fishing pressure as new roads reach remote lakes.  Our new story map, The Water We Share, explains how we are studying the major challenges facing fish in Ontario’s Far North, including how we are identifying which watersheds should be priorities for conservation in this vast and largely untouched region. One of the biggest challenges for understanding the more than 50 fish species th...

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