Canada’s conservation network is as diverse as it is unique-and it consists of more than just national wildlife areas and national parks. The Government of Canada is recognizing lands and waters managed in ways that achieve the conservation of biodiversity, but are not protected areas or parks.
Even if conservation is not the primary objective of an area, it can still achieve long-term benefits for nature. These areas might include portions of native prairie grasslands managed for beef production, or watershed protection areas around major metropolitan areas. Called Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs), these areas are effectively achieving the same conservation outcomes as protected areas and parks.
In 2018, the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity agreed on guiding principles, common characteristics and criteria for the identification of OECMs which Canada has adopted.
Environment and Climate Change Canada works with partners to recognize OECMs: areas that achieve the conservation of biodiversity, regardless of their primary purpose. Recognizing OECMs and adding them to the Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database to gain a clearer, more holistic picture of the Canadian conservation network is a key pillar of Canada’s plan to conserve 25 percent of land, inland water, and oceans by 2025, working toward 30 percent by 2030.
A number of Government of Canada departments, agencies, and commissions manage land in ways that achieve the conservation of biodiversity. Assessing these lands and including them in Canada’s database demonstrates leadership in support of domestic and international conservation commitments.
Beaubears Island-Site of Boishébert and Beaubears Island Shipbuilding National Historic Sites: 72 hectares
Boishébert National Historic Site, which includes Beaubears Island in Miramichi, New Brunswick, was designated a national historic site in 2000 to commemorate its significant role as a place of refuge for Acadians following the 1755 Deportation. Beaubears Island Shipbuilding National Historic Site was designated in 2002 for its association with the 19th century shipbuilding industry of the Maritimes.
Beaubears Island largely consists of old growth forest ecosystems. The site supports rare occurrences of remnant, relatively undisturbed stands, providing habitat for various species of wildlife and species of conservation concern that require mature old-growth forest. These forest stands offer a glimpse into the composition and structure of natural late-seral and climax Acadian forest ecosystems, while providing a useful yardstick by which to gauge the evolution of more disturbed forest communities elsewhere in northeastern New Brunswick. The site supports three species at risk: the olive-sided flycatcher (Contopus cooperi), threatened under the Canada Species at Risk Act (SARA); the eastern wood-pewee (Contopus virens); and the monarch (Danaus plexippus), both considered species of special concern.