Basic facts and introduction to Canada’s wetlands and protection approaches
Ducks Unlimited Canada offers wetland restoration programs in most provinces.
Marshes, bogs, fens, swamps, and open water play an important role in protecting our health and well-being, by reducing water pollution, preventing flooding, limiting droughts, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
These landscapes provide hundreds of species with safe places to eat, sleep and raise young. Wetlands are also part of the traditional territories of many Indigenous Peoples who remain deeply connected to these lands.
One-third of global peatlands are in Canada’s arctic and subarctic areas and boreal regions spread over 1.1 million square kilometers (about 12% of Canada’s land area). They store about 150 billion tonnes of carbon, about 25% of the world’s peatland carbon.
In settled areas of Canada, up to 70% of our wetlands and peatlands have been destroyed or degraded. Many wetlands have been drained for farming, new buildings and homes, mines, logging, and roads. Due to rising global temperatures, permafrost is also thawing rapidly, altering carbon storage dynamics in peatlands, and increasing the amount of carbon dioxide and methane released.
Conservation finance tools, ranging from tax incentives to payment for ecosystem services, can help private landowners better manage wetlands and benefit their communities.
Peatlands have been impacted by the peat moss industry and their importance is indispensable — expanding the protection of these landscapes is critical. Road development in wetlands and peatlands should be reduced or prevented. The involvement and leadership of Indigenous peoples are central in all such efforts to protect Canada’s wetlands and peatlands.
Canadian forests are a key element to mitigating climate change and protecting biodiversity.
Farmers and ranchers are the largest private landowner group in Canada, managing about 8% of Canada’s lands.
Hundreds of plant species and more than 60 species at risk depend on Canada’s grasslands.
In addition to helping mitigate the effects of climate change, these areas are home to many species.