Nature Canada

Towards local action on Nature-based Climate Solutions

Discover ideas, examples, tools, resources and contacts to help you advance nature-based climate solutions in your community.

Why Nature-Based Climate Solutions?

Forests, grasslands, peatlands, wetlands, and oceans are critical ecosystems that sequester and store vast amounts of carbon, clean our air and water, protect us from extreme floods and fires, and provide critical habitats for threatened species.

Nature-based climate solutions”, the protection, restoration, and management of these natural areas are now seen as key, alongside the clean energy transition, to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and stemming global warming.

Canada is home to 30% of the world’s boreal forests and peatlands, and the world’s longest coastline, all of which are biodiverse and carbon-rich ecosystems. We have a responsibility to be a leader in protecting these areas.

Curious about what Canadian regions are high-density carbon sinks? Check out the WWF’s map of Canada’s Carbon Landscape!

More than 1 million animal and plant species are at risk of extinction.

Human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are increasing the Earth’s temperature, which in turn is increasing the rate of floods, fires, droughts and storms, causing harm to human and ecological health and the survival of already threatened species.

At the same time, human-caused habitat and wildlife degradation and destruction is causing the most rapid rate of species extinction in human history: more than one million animal and plant species are at risk of extinction, including more than one in three amphibians and marine mammals.

The biodiversity of species on land and water is critical to healthy soil, insects and plant life, which in turn is crucial to providing the food, water and air upon which human well-being depends.

Preventing climate breakdown requires rapidly transitioning away from fossil fuel use – in energy, buildings, transportation and manufacturing. But protecting and restoring nature is also critical to stabilizing and reducing atmospheric carbon levels, adapting to climate change, protecting biodiversity, and ensuring a sustainable future.

Join the growing movement for nature-based climate solutions

Environmental and conservation groups across Canada have long been engaged in actions to protect, restore and better manage our lands, waters and forests. Now is the time to scale up nature-based climate solutions to help beat the climate emergency and end species extinction. 

In 2020, Nature Canada co-hosted a summit at which over 400 people from all sectors of society shared knowledge and a growing commitment to advance nature-based climate solutions.

Scroll down to learn more about key landscapes, approaches, examples and resources to help you implement nature-based climate solutions in your community!

Need more information on what nature-based climate solutions are? Check out this simple story map on the case for nature-based climate solutions in Canada from WWF Canada.

Indigenous leadership on nature-based climate solutions.

Nature-based climate solutions can help us rebalance our relationship with the planet upon which we and hundreds of thousands of other species depend. This is something that Indigenous peoples have understood and lived for generations. The most carbon-rich habitats in Canada are located on traditional lands of Indigenous peoples. Their rights and title must be at the centre of nature-based climate solutions.

Nature-based climate solutions must also be informed by the recognition that Indigenous and racialized communities have been and continue to be the most harmed by climate change and ecological degradation. Their voices and interests must be at the forefront of renewing our relationship with nature.

Indigenous-led land conservation remains a bright spot in the fight against biodiversity loss. A 2019 study led by the University of British Columbia confirmed that biodiversity was substantially higher on Indigneous-managed and owned lands, with parks and wildlife reserves taking second place.

Approaches to Nature-Based Climate Solutions

View resources categorized by the four main approaches below.

A major study of 24 nature-based climate solutions found that protecting, restoring and better managing Canada’s lands and waters could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 80 million tons a year—more than 10% of Canada’s total emissions! A top priority is to stop the conversion and disturbance of grasslands, peatlands, and freshwater and coastal wetlands. 


Take action with nature-based climate solutions.

Learn more about what you can do to advance nature-based climate solutions in your community. Below you’ll find key steps for action, suggested questions to ask your community during each step, and a list of helpful resources to get you started.

Step 1
Get to know your community by assessing challenges & opportunities

  • What natural areas are at risk in your community?
  • What are you most concerned about?
  • What commitments does your municipality have to better protect or restore natural habitats?
  • Does your municipality already have a climate plan? Are nature-based climate solutions included? 
  • What possible actions could you take to advance nature-based climate solutions? 

Step 2
Connect with others who care about climate action and nature protection

  • Whose traditional land are you operating within? How can they be included or engaged? 
  • What protection, restoration, and land management initiatives are underway?
  • Who is leading them? In the community? In local government? 

Step 3
Choose an achievable goal that resonates with your community

  • Convening a meeting with interested groups/people (or join an existing group)
  • Identify outcome(s) you want to achieve 
  • Actions to achieve outcomes  (see theory of change tool below)

Resources for Action

Want to Help?

Canada’s wilderness is the world’s envy. It’s our duty to keep our true north strong and green.