Canada Target 3

By 2020, Canada's wetlands are conserved or enhanced to Goal Asustain their ecosystem services through retention, restoration and management activities.



About the Target

Canada is home to 25 percent of the world’s wetlands, which include bogs, fens, swamps, marshes, and shallow/open waters. Wetlands are directly responsible for a number of ecosystem services that Canadians rely on, such as reducing the impact of floods and droughts, water filtration, erosion control, protecting communities from storm surge, and storing of substantial quantities of greenhouse gases, as well as offering opportunities for outdoor recreation, education, hunting and fishing.

Furthermore, wetlands are key to the lifecycles of a huge range of plants and animals, including one-third of Canada's species at risk. Yet, despite their importance, wetland degradation is continuing and loss has now reached critical levels in many areas of the country. In order to reduce the negative effects of wetland loss, there is a need to ensure that remaining wetlands are conserved and utilized in a sustainable manner so that the benefits of wetlands continue. Conserving and enhancing wetlands will benefit wildlife and plant species, ensure the maintenance of vital ecosystems and the benefits Canadians receive from them, sometimes known as ecosystem services, and contribute to the health and well-being of Canadians.

Canada Target 3 is linked with the following global Aichi target under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020:

  • Aichi Target 4 - By 2020, at the latest, Governments, business and stakeholders at all levels have taken steps to achieve or have implemented plans for sustainable production and consumption and have kept the impacts of use of natural resources well within safe ecological limits.
  • Aichi Target 5 - By 2020, By 2020, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests, is at least halved and where feasible brought close to zero, and degradation and fragmentation is significantly reduced.
  • Aichi Target 14 - By 2020, By 2020, ecosystems that provide essential services, including services related to water, and contribute to health, livelihoods and well-being, are restored and safeguarded, taking into account the needs of women, indigenous and local communities, and the poor and vulnerable.
  • Aichi Target 15 - By 2020, ecosystem resilience and the contribution of biodiversity to carbon stocks has been enhanced, through conservation and restoration, including restoration of at least 15 per cent of degraded ecosystems, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation and to combating desertification.


2018 Interim Progress Assessment

On track to meeting target iconOverall, Canada is on track to achieve this target, primarily through the work of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP). NAWMP is an international action plan to conserve waterfowl throughout Canada, the United States of America, and Mexico and is a cornerstone of wetland conservation throughout the continent.

NAWMP brings together conservation partners, including governments, conservation organizations, scientists, and private landowners, in support of wetland conservation, restoration and management activities. These partners work primarily through public-private Joint Ventures that integrate planning, science and management for key habitats (Canadian Intermountain, Eastern, Pacific Birds and Prairie) and species (Arctic Goose, Black Duck and Sea Duck).

Since 1986, NAWMP has helped reduce the rate of wetland loss and degradation by protecting and restoring wetlands, establishing conservation agreements, and influencing stewardship activities of landowners, farmers, land managers, and conservation agencies.

Since its inception, 8.5 million hectares of wetlands and associated uplands have been retained in Canada, and 6.6 million hectares have been restored and/or managed under the auspices of NAWMP. In the last five years alone, over 550,000 hectares of wetlands and associated uplands were retained and over 1.7 million hectares were restored and/or managed by NAWMP partners. This progress is outlined in the chart below.

Progress has also been made at the provincial and territorial levels to support enhanced action on wetland conservation. For example, Ontario has introduced a 15-year Wetland Conservation Strategy that aims to increase wetlands and wetland function in those areas that have experienced the greatest wetland loss by 2030. Manitoba and Québec are also increasing their efforts to restore and conserve wetlands, through new legislation introduced by both jurisdictions.

At the federal level, more than $40 million was invested by multiple partners between 2014 and 2016 in over 130 wetland restoration, enhancement, and science projects through the National Wetland Conservation Fund. These projects restored more than 1,000 hectares of wetland habitat and associated uplands and enhanced over 318,000 hectares of land, in turn supporting improved water quality for fish, waterfowl and other wildlife.

Despite this progress, more work is required to ensure that rates of wetland degradation and loss are reduced. Ongoing commitment and action by all partners are key to ensure this vital work continues.

Canada also participates in the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which provides an international framework for action on wetlands all over the world, especially those that provide waterfowl habitat. Canada’s 2018 report to the Ramsar Convention outlines progress towards the Convention’s goals over the past three years.


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