Why we measure this
Saskatchewan is committed to protecting 12 per cent of the province's terrestrial areas and inland waters for future generations, and in support of the Prairie Resilience climate change strategy.
These areas are representative of Saskatchewan's natural ecosystems and will be conserved for future generations.
Increasing protected and conserved areas in the province supports the Ministry of Environment's goal of productive and biologically diverse landscapes and resilience to climate change. Quality and quantity of protected and conserved areas are important considerations. These areas are stores of ecological and cultural heritage, and are also available for future research.
What is happening
Protected areas are added to the provincial Protected and Conserved Areas Network each year. To date, 6,354,385 ha or 9.76 per cent of Saskatchewan is contained within the network.
A range of approaches is used to conserve landscape, from traditional tools such as parks and ecological reserves to working landscapes conserved through the Wildlife Habitat Protection Act, and conservation agreements with ranchers.
A multi-ministry working group assesses and prioritizes areas for conservation; identifies appropriate tools for protection based on ecological value, land tenure, economic potential and cultural significance; establishes a work plan to achieve provincial goals for biodiversity conservation; and identifies actions and challenges associated with meeting provincial and national targets.
What we are doing
The Protected and Conserved Areas Working Group is a multi-ministry committee developing a Protected and Conserved Areas Roadmap. The roadmap will identify desired outcomes and goals, and the significant steps needed to reach and maintain protection of 12 per cent of the province's land and water.
Through the Ministry of Environment, the government is exploring new tools such as 'other effective area-based conservation measures' (sometimes called OECMs), where biodiversity conservation is not necessarily the primary goal, yet they are managed over the long term in ways that result in effective and enduring protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services. This concept expands the conservation of biodiversity into areas with low to moderate human use levels, but with safeguards to ensure significant components of biodiversity have long-term protection.
Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) are also a new and emerging opportunity where areas are set aside to conserve both ecosystems and culture, and the land is managed, in part, for continued traditional use. IPCAs involve a long-term commitment to the conservation of lands for future generations, and highlight Indigenous rights and responsibilities.
Note: N/A indicates PCAs outside of the ecoregions listed, as Saskatchewan’s Ecoregion Boundary dataset excludes a small portion of Saskatchewan's total area.
Note: Individual Designated Area statistics do not account for overlap within the PCAN; therefore, hectare values should not be summed within this figure.