WCS Canada

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Keeping carbon on the ground

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 to keep these massive storehouses of carbon protected, while also advancing reconciliation around parks and protected areas in Canada.

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A sustainable plan for Ontario's Ring of Fire
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?
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A big fish story - in maps!
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 that inhabit the lakes and mighty rivers of our Far North study area is a lack of scientific data for this very remote region.  That’s why we have developed innovative approaches, demonstrated in the story map, for projecting watershed changes and vulnerabilities.  Take a plunge into this fascinating – and ecologically important – underwater world.
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Seven Winters and 70,000 Kilometers
It took seven winters and 70,000 kilometres of flying over the vast forests and lowlands of far northern Ontario to build a picture of where wolverines are – and aren’t – in their easternmost North American outpost.  Our goal was to develop a method for accurately predicting where these elusive creatures were likely to be found in order to be able to track changes in their range in the face of climate change and resource development. We flew low and slow for hundreds of hour over frozen forests looking for tracks in fresh snow to build a picture of how wolverines are faring in Ontario.  The story of what we saw and what it means is now online in Scientific American.
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The Clock is Ticking; Are We Making Progress?
The federal Liberal Party made a number of important commitments during the last election campaign on improving environmental protections. In an era when political promises often bring low expectations, it is important to note that this government has made progress on some commitments, like setting out a pathway for increasing our protected areas and taking action to help species of risk. But there is still a long road ahead, especially on issues like modernizing our environmental assessment process to properly consider the cumulative impacts of many different human activities on wild landscapes. Here the government has simply not done enough to fulfill its promise to reform the broken current system – one that leads to piecemeal decision making and a piling on of impacts on wild species.
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