2 février 2018

Écrit par Scott McFatridge

Les populations d'espèces en péril continuent de décliner.  Le statu quo actuel ne les aide tout simplement pas assez. Mais au fil du temps, la bonne combinaison d'incitations économiques et d'outils politiques pourrait tout changer les choses.

L'élan prend de l'ampleur dans tout le pays pour que le gouvernement fédéral fasse un investissement historique dans la conservation de la nature en 2018. Et pour de bonnes raisons. Les extinctions d'espèces se produisent à un rythme rythme alarmant, et les espèces en péril au Canada ne font pas exception.

L'engagement du Canada à protéger et à rétablir les espèces en péril est énoncé dans la Loi sur les espèces en péril (LEP), qui vise à protéger directement les espèces en péril (et leurs habitats résidentiels) sur les terres fédérales et dans les écosystèmes aquatiques du pays. Même si le gouvernement fédéral, les gouvernements provinciaux et territoriaux ont fait de modestes progrès dans le renforcement de la protection SAR, ils ne semblent pas être suffisants pour stabiliser et rétablir les espèces en péril.

Dans le cadre de son nouveau rapport sur la politique de conservation des espèces en péril, le l'Institut pour l'IntelliProspérité et l'Institut de l'environnement de l'Université d'Ottawa ont creusé profondément. Un examen approfondi de la documentation a été effectué, un atelier des intervenants a eu lieu, 35 experts en rétablissement des espèces en péril ont été interviewés et un sondage a été administré à plus de 100 chercheurs et praticiens.

Notre recherche  permis d'identifier neuf principaux obstacles à la récupération des espèces en péril (disponible en anglais seulement) :

1) There are potentially significant gaps in SAR protection on provincial and territorial land which are not being fully addressed by federal backstop measures.

2) There is a lack of incentives for SAR conservation on private land throughout the country. This is a major issue, since private land provides critical habitat for many species at risk, but this habitat mostly remains unprotected (for the reasons mentioned above). And many threats to species at risk – such as residential and commercial property development – are found on private land.

3) Governments and other stakeholders are using a limited set of tools for recovering species at risk. Economic instruments in particular have a real potential for promoting cost-effective recovery, but they are still relatively under-used for SAR conservation. This needs to change, since there are limits to what regulatory and strictly voluntary approaches to SAR recovery can achieve.

4) Aspects of SARA’s planning process work against the use of place-based (multispecies and ecosystem) approaches to recovery planning.

5) A tune-up of government stewardship programs is needed. Federal, provincial and territorial governments have a number of programs for promoting conservation on private land, such as the Habitat Stewardship Program. And while our stakeholders generally viewed these programs positively, they stressed the need for them to be more directed, flexible and incentive-based.

6) There are some shortcomings in how stakeholders collect and share data, and how these are used to inform decision making.

7) Clarity is needed on how SARA interacts with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (2012), and how to achieve compliance with both acts (including assessing and managing cumulative effects).

8) Little use is being made of compliance measures such as rigorous offsets or permits to manage impacts to SAR on federal, provincial and territorial crown land. The federal government has recently outlined a permitting and offsets policy which, if they get the details rights, should help ensure that SAR see an overall conservation benefit (or at least experience no harm) from responsibly undertaken activities (e.g. construction) on federal crown land. While this is no substitute for actual protection measures, ensuring that similar SAR management measures are extended to provincial and territorial crown land would be beneficial.

9) Current resource levels are not up to the challenge of SAR recovery. There was a strong sense from many of our stakeholders (especially in ENGOS and governments) that recovering species at risk will require a major increase in resources relative to today’s levels, which should be prioritized towards implementing stewardship and other recovery actions. Several provinces and territories are facing fiscal challenges, meaning that new instruments for unlocking additional funding may be needed.

While conserving and recovering species at risk will not be easy, our research has also uncovered a set of policy tools which, while underused to date, show significant promise for better engaging stakeholders in species at risk recovery.

To learn more about the challenges facing species at risk recovery and how smart policy can improve recovery outcomes, read our report and keep an eye out for our upcoming series of policy briefs, which distill our recommendations on a few key topics.