Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECM)
The Convention on Biological Diversity defines Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECM) as:
“A geographically defined area other than a Protected Area, which is governed and managed in ways that achieve positive and sustained long-term outcomes for the in situ conservation of biodiversity, with associated ecosystem services.”
The main difference between a protected area and an OECM is the primary purpose of the area. Protected areas should have conservation as their primary objective. On the other hand, an OECM often has similar conservation and biodiversity results, while meeting other primary objectives. Within the International Union for Conservation of Nature guidance, military lands are specifically cited as areas that can be considered as potential OECMs for their secondary conservation benefits: “Military lands and waters, or portions of military lands and waters that are primarily managed for the purpose of defence, but with specific secondary objectives focused on the conservation of biodiversity.”
The recognition of an area as an OECM is voluntary, and confirms that its existing land use, governance and management contribute to the conservation of biological diversity. If in the future these areas can no longer achieve the positive and sustained conservation of biological diversity, the OECM status can be removed.
Canadian Forces Base Shilo
CFB Shilo is an Operations and Training Base of the Canadian Armed Forces located in southern Manitoba. While portions of CFB Shilo with significant infrastructure and high human traffic do not qualify for consideration as an Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECM), there are areas on the base are largely natural habitats.
Located in the mixed-grass prairie ecosystem of south-central Manitoba, approximately 21,138 hectares of CFB Shilo are natural areas that support diverse plant and wildlife communities. These natural areas were assessed according to relevant criteria and found to meet all necessary conditions to be reported to the federal protected and conserved areas database as an OECM, if the Department of National Defence (DND) chose to do so.
The Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces put a high priority on environmental stewardship. The Defence Energy and Environment Strategy was created to help achieve the Department’s environmental and energy goals. Key initiatives of the strategy include making training areas and ranges more sustainable, maintaining species-at-risk work plans, and working to protect flora and fauna present on Defence lands. The Department also works with external organizations, such as Ducks Unlimited, to maintain habitat on other DND lands.