A Portrait of Québec’s Network of Protected Areas
AN EXCEPTIONAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE protection OF BIOLOGICAL diversitY
Québec, May 20, 2010 – On the eve of International Day for Biological Diversity, Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks Line Beauchamp today unveils a unique work in the field of protection of biological diversity, the Overview of Quebec's Protected Areas Network – Period 2002-2009, This document lays out the significant advances made by Québec in the area of the protection of nature over the last seven years, advances which have been achieved by the establishment of a network of protected areas that includes more than 2,500 natural sites, all of which meet the most stringent of international protection criteria.
“Publishing this work in the context of the International Year of Biological Diversity shows our commitment to demonstrating the quality of the network of protected areas that our Government has established through a rigorous, dialogue-based process in collaboration with numerous partners throughout Québec. Between 2002 and 2009, Québec has made great strides by protecting nearly 200 additional natural territories each year. With more than 8% of the land of Québec protected–which corresponds to the equivalent of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island combined– some 135,300 km2– the Québec network is a true gift to ourselves and for future generations,” Minister Beauchamp stated.
Immense areas and improved protection of vulnerable species
Québec’s network of protected areas now ensures that immense areas and exceptional natural landscapes that are representative of the great wealth of biodiversity in all our natural regions will be preserved. The network is, notably, composed of 24 national parks, 70 ecological reserves, 82 biodiversity reserves, 9 aquatic reserves and 26 big rivers.
It is estimated that fully two-thirds of Québec plant and animal species that are designated as threatened or vulnerable can be found within this vast network of protected areas.
The greatest growth in the network occurred in the boreal zone, rising from 2.46% to 9.05 % of the land. Since 2009, Québec has protected nearly 100,000 km2 of boreal ecosystems.
It is also of note that Northern Québec has seen the greatest advances in land conservation, in the following Natural Provinces: Grande-Rivière Foothills (0% to 13.84%), Mistassini Highlands (0% to 9.82%) and the Basse-Côte-Nord Plateau (1.91% to 10.02 %).
“In publishing a work of this nature that has no equivalent elsewhere in the world, the Government of Québec has opted to take a leadership role and present the major gains achieved in the field of nature conservation in recent years, while clearly stating what is missing from its current network. This approach shows the way forward towards achieving our objective of establishing protected areas over 12% of Québec by 2015,” Minister Beauchamp concluded.
The Overview of Quebec's Protected Areas Network – Period 2002-2009 is a weighty publication of more than 200 pages that presents observations on each of our natural regions and includes more than 190 maps, tables and photographs. An accompanying summary document is entitled The Current Situation in Brief – 2009. These publications are available in French and English on the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs web site at www.mddefp.gouv.qc.ca.
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