Local Governments Protecting Private Lands: Issues, Solutions, Challenges

The above was presented at the February 22 – 25, 2022 Research eSummit.

Ce qui précède a été présenté au eSommet de Recherche du 22 au 25 février 2022.

(résumé et vidéo en français ci-dessous)

ABSTRACT

The Islands Trust is a special purpose local government mandated to preserve and protect over 450 islands in the Salish Sea, British Columbia. The Islands Trust Conservancy (ITC) was created to facilitate the preserve and protect mandate by working with private landowners to encourage protection of healthy ecosystems and build a natural legacy for the future. We have a variety of tools available to private landowners to support their conservation efforts, including the creation of nature reserves, conservation covenants, property tax relief through the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program (NAPTEP), transfer of title for ecologically significant areas during property development applications, and restoration programs.

Since the ITC was created, 30 years ago, we have protected 30 nature reserves and oversee 76 private land conservation covenants. We have learned that our program is only as strong as our ability to monitor our holdings and identify infringements or habitat degradation that needs to be corrected. Given the changing times we are increasingly trying to incorporate Indigenous reconciliation and climate change mitigation and adaptation into our programs.

We are interested in sharing our experience, learning from other local governments on unique tools that they may be using, understanding the challenges inherent in conservation of private land in other places in Canada, and especially how other local governments are addressing both Indigenous reconciliation and climate change into their conservation initiatives.

We will present a short video about the Islands Trust Area and use the stories of a few of our holdings to illustrate our successes and challenges. We will also share some of the key documents we have created to help private land owners engage in conservation, such as the Sensitive Ecosystem Guide for Property Owners and decisions-support tools for the acquisition of protected areas.

ABSTRACT

The Islands Trust est un gouvernement local à but spécial mandaté pour préserver et protéger plus de 450 îles dans la mer de Salish, en Colombie-Britannique. L’Islands Trust Conservancy (ITC) a été créé pour faciliter le mandat de préservation et de protection en travaillant avec les propriétaires privés pour encourager la protection d’écosystèmes sains et construire un héritage naturel pour l’avenir. Nous mettons à la disposition des propriétaires fonciers privés divers outils pour soutenir leurs efforts de conservation, notamment la création de réserves naturelles, les conventions de conservation, l’allègement de l’impôt foncier par le biais du Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program (NAPTEP), le transfert du titre de propriété pour les zones d’importance écologique lors des demandes de développement immobilier, et les programmes de restauration.

Depuis la création de l’ITC, il y a 30 ans, nous avons protégé 30 réserves naturelles et supervisé 76 conventions de conservation de terres privées. Nous avons appris que la force de notre programme dépend de notre capacité à surveiller nos propriétés et à identifier les infractions ou la dégradation de l’habitat qui doivent être corrigées. Compte tenu de l’évolution des temps, nous essayons de plus en plus d’intégrer la réconciliation avec les autochtones ainsi que l’atténuation et l’adaptation au changement climatique dans nos programmes.

Nous souhaitons partager notre expérience, apprendre d’autres gouvernements locaux sur les outils uniques qu’ils peuvent utiliser, comprendre les défis inhérents à la conservation des terres privées dans d’autres endroits au Canada, et surtout comment d’autres gouvernements locaux abordent à la fois la réconciliation autochtone et le changement climatique dans leurs initiatives de conservation.

Nous présenterons une courte vidéo sur l’Islands Trust Area et utiliserons les histoires de quelques-unes de nos propriétés pour illustrer nos succès et nos défis. Nous partagerons également certains des documents clés que nous avons créés pour aider les propriétaires fonciers privés à s’engager dans la conservation, tels que le Guide des écosystèmes sensibles pour les propriétaires fonciers et les outils d’aide à la décision pour l’acquisition de zones protégées.

Protecting 30% of Canada by 2030: How can we make this happen? What does it really mean?

The above was presented at the February 22 – 25, 2022 Research eSummit.

Ce qui précède a été présenté au eSommet de Recherche du 22 au 25 février 2022.

(résumé et vidéo en français ci-dessous)

ABSTRACT

The world is facing both a global biodiversity and a climate change crisis. There is growing recognition that we need to act now to address these inter-related challenges. Agreement on this comes from science-driven institutions like the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as well as from human rights organizations and business-orientated bodies like the World Economic Forum. As governments negotiate the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, there is strong and growing global support for effectively protecting and conserving at least 30% of the earth’s land, sea and freshwater ecosystems by 2030, as a key requirement for halting and beginning to reverse biodiversity loss, as well as contributing to addressing the climate crisis. Protecting and conserving at least 30% by 2030 must be addressed in the context of recognizing the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, and combined with applying effective sustainability measures across the remaining 70% of the planet. This presentation would look at the evidence behind the at least 30% target the global guidance behind what should could toward that target.

ABSTRACT

Le monde est confronté à la fois à une crise mondiale de la biodiversité et à une crise du changement climatique. Il est de plus en plus reconnu que nous devons agir maintenant pour relever ces défis interdépendants. Ce constat est partagé par des institutions à vocation scientifique telles que la Plateforme intergouvernementale scientifique et politique pour la biodiversité et les services écosystémiques et le Groupe d’experts intergouvernemental sur l’évolution du climat, ainsi que par des organisations de défense des droits de l’homme et des organismes à vocation commerciale tels que le Forum économique mondial. À l’heure où les gouvernements négocient le cadre mondial pour la biodiversité de l’après-2020, il existe un soutien mondial fort et croissant en faveur de la protection et de la conservation effectives d’au moins 30 % des écosystèmes terrestres, marins et d’eau douce de la planète d’ici à 2030, condition essentielle pour enrayer et commencer à inverser la tendance à la perte de biodiversité, ainsi que pour contribuer à la résolution de la crise climatique. La protection et la conservation d’au moins 30% d’ici 2030 doivent être abordées dans le contexte de la reconnaissance des droits des peuples autochtones et des communautés locales, et combinées à l’application de mesures de durabilité efficaces sur les 70% restants de la planète. Cette présentation examinera les preuves à l’appui de l’objectif d’au moins 30 %, ainsi que les orientations mondiales sur ce qui devrait être fait pour atteindre cet objectif.

Canada’s Conserved Areas: Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators

2019 Canada Conserved Areas

Guiding Document

Well-managed conserved areas help preserve species and their habitats for present and future generations by reducing direct human development stresses. Conserved areas play a vital role in conserving Canada’s nature. They also provide opportunities for people to connect with nature. The indicators track the amount and proportion of area conserved in Canada.

2019 Canada Conserved Areas
Go to website.

Assessing the local economic impacts of land protection

Land protection, whether public or private, is often controversial at the local level because residents worry about lost economic activity. We used panel data and a quasiexperimental impact-evaluation approach to determine how key economic indicators were related to the percentage of land protected. Specifically, we estimated the impacts of public and private land protection based on local area employment and housing permits data from 5 periods spanning 1990-2015 for all major towns and cities in New England. To generate rigorous impact estimates, we modeled economic outcomes as a function of the percentage of land protected in the prior period, conditional on town fixed effects, metro-region trends, and controls for period and neighboring protection. Contrary to narratives that conservation depresses economic growth, land protection was associated with a modest increase in the number of people employed and in the labor force and did not affect new housing permits, population, or median income. Public and private protection led to different patterns of positive employment impacts at distances close to and far from cities, indicating the importance of investing in both types of land protection to increase local opportunities. The greatest magnitude of employment impacts were due to protection in more rural areas, where opportunities for both visitation and amenity-related economic growth may be greatest. Overall, we provide novel evidence that land protection can be compatible with local economic growth and illustrate a method that can be broadly applied to assess the net economic impacts of protection.

Peer-reviewed Article

Land protection, whether public or private, is often controversial at the local level because residents worry about lost economic activity. This peer-reviewed article estimates the impacts of public and private land protection based on local area employment and housing permits data from 5 periods spanning 1990-2015 for all major towns and cities in New England. Contrary to narratives that conservation depresses economic growth, land protection was associated with a modest increase in the number of people employed and in the labor force and did not affect new housing permits, population, or median income. Public and private protection led to different patterns of positive employment impacts at distances close to and far from cities, indicating the importance of investing in both types of land protection to increase local opportunities. The greatest magnitude of employment impacts were due to protection in more rural areas, where opportunities for both visitation and amenity-related economic growth may be greatest. 

Land protection, whether public or private, is often controversial at the local level because residents worry about lost economic activity. We used panel data and a quasiexperimental impact-evaluation approach to determine how key economic indicators were related to the percentage of land protected. Specifically, we estimated the impacts of public and private land protection based on local area employment and housing permits data from 5 periods spanning 1990-2015 for all major towns and cities in New England. To generate rigorous impact estimates, we modeled economic outcomes as a function of the percentage of land protected in the prior period, conditional on town fixed effects, metro-region trends, and controls for period and neighboring protection. Contrary to narratives that conservation depresses economic growth, land protection was associated with a modest increase in the number of people employed and in the labor force and did not affect new housing permits, population, or median income. Public and private protection led to different patterns of positive employment impacts at distances close to and far from cities, indicating the importance of investing in both types of land protection to increase local opportunities. The greatest magnitude of employment impacts were due to protection in more rural areas, where opportunities for both visitation and amenity-related economic growth may be greatest. Overall, we provide novel evidence that land protection can be compatible with local economic growth and illustrate a method that can be broadly applied to assess the net economic impacts of protection.
Go to article.