Google Translate Disclaimer

A number of pages on the Government of Saskatchewan's website have been professionally translated in French. These translations are identified by a yellow box in the right or left rail that resembles the link below. The home page for French-language content on this site can be found at:

Renseignements en Français

Where an official translation is not available, Google™ Translate can be used. Google™ Translate is a free online language translation service that can translate text and web pages into different languages. Translations are made available to increase access to Government of Saskatchewan content for populations whose first language is not English.

Software-based translations do not approach the fluency of a native speaker or possess the skill of a professional translator. The translation should not be considered exact, and may include incorrect or offensive language. The Government of Saskatchewan does not warrant the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information translated by this system. Some files or items cannot be translated, including graphs, photos and other file formats such as portable document formats (PDFs).

Any person or entities that rely on information obtained from the system does so at his or her own risk. Government of Saskatchewan is not responsible for any damage or issues that may possibly result from using translated website content. If you have any questions about Google™ Translate, please visit: Google™ Translate FAQs.

Agricultural Land Cover

Ag land photo banner

Why we measure this

By area, agriculture is the dominant form of land use in southern Saskatchewan. Agricultural lands ­­– or lands used for the production of crops and livestock ­­– occupy most of the province south of the commercial forest. They also encompass land not exclusively dedicated to production, including wetlands and woodlands.

Good agricultural land management not only keeps land healthy and productive, it contributes to biodiversity, soil conservation and habitat availability for wild species. While the main intent of farming is food and forage, land management impacts natural processes necessary to sustain adequate water supplies, a stable climate and other important benefits for people and the economy.

Saskatchewan will continue to monitor trends in agricultural land management to ensure we are keeping agricultural landscapes healthy and productive, and sustaining joint biodiversity benefits.

What is happening

What's happening 1

For the information available, agricultural land use in Saskatchewan has remained relatively stable.

Agricultural land use in Saskatchewan

Note: Due to abnormally wet growing seasons in 2010 and 2011, land that couldn't be seeded because of excess moisture was reported to the Census of Agriculture as too wet to seed and is categorized in this figure as all other land.

What is happening 2

Temperate grasslands are one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world. Most estimates suggest somewhere between 19 and 24 per cent of grassland cover remains in Saskatchewan. Many grassland wildlife species are experiencing population declines and many federally listed species at risk in the province rely on remaining patches of managed grassland. Grasslands also support Saskatchewan's beef industry. As such, it is important to conserve remaining grassland habitat for wildlife and people alike. Increasing the area of permanent cover, including grasslands, is a component of the Government of Saskatchewan's Prairie Resilience framework. This measure will increase resilience and help mitigate climate change.

Area of grassland

Whats happening 

Conservation of tree cover provides important habitat for forest-associated wildlife species, including economically important species such as white-tailed deer. Like other natural land covers, trees in agricultural landscapes retain stored carbon and improve resilience to climate change.

Per cent loss of natural tree cover

Natural tree cover is the percent loss of natural tree cover per quarter section between 2012 and 2017.

What is happening 4

Fragmentation of movement corridors for wildlife can occur when woodland patches are removed. The closer neighbouring patches are together, the more readily wildlife species can travel to find food, mates and living space. Conserving movement corridors helps facilitate dispersal and maintain resilience among populations of wide-ranging species.

Woodland movement corridors

What is happening 5

Pollinator-accessible cropland is the proportion of cropland within 200 metres of natural land covers in landscape areas dominated by agriculture.

Flying insects such as bees and flies are responsible for pollinating several crop species popular in Saskatchewan, including canola, flax, mustard, buckwheat and coriander. Cross-pollination by insects can increase crop yields by up to 30 per cent. Natural land cover patches adjacent to cropland facilitate cross-pollination by providing nesting and foraging sites for insect pollinators. This is especially important in agriculture-dominated landscapes where the maximum benefit of cross-pollination is jeopardized by increasing isolation from natural patches where insect pollinators reside. Maintaining natural patches dispersed across agriculture-dominated landscapes will continue to facilitate cross- pollination by insects.

Pollinator accessible cropland

What we are doing

Land management remains a priority for Saskatchewan.

Government is continuing to support programs and services such as the Fish and Wildlife Development Fund, the Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change component of the Federal-Provincial Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Agricultural Water Management Strategy and lease arrangements with private Agricultural Crown Land lessees and pasture patrons. This also includes collaborating with agricultural producers to achieve targets identified in the Prairie Resilience climate change strategy and Climate Resilience Measurement Framework.

We need your feedback to improve Help us improve