September 2021
Médias Bulletins
Sep 02, 2021 post image

Hello all,

Welcome back after a long, hot summer!

There is a lot going on in the world right now, including with global conservation initiatives. The IUCN World Conservation Congress is running from Sept 3-11 in Marseilles, although most of it has turned virtual. There are a number of KBA events at the Congress, focused on how KBAs can be used by the business and finance communities, monitoring within KBAs, capacity-building for applying the KBA Standard, and the work that countries are engaged in to identify KBAs. Canada was represented in a session on September 6th, where Chloé Débyser updated the international community on our collaborative approach to identifying KBAs, and shared a map of the hundreds of KBAs that have been delineated to date. The sessions are closed to attendees, but as we have some nice new maps that we prepared for this event, we will share them with you at an upcoming webinar.

Global negotiations around post-2020 biodiversity targets also involve the KBA community. KBAs are both an information layer to feed into protected area/OECM planning and an indicator of how well the current network of protected areas and OECMs capture areas of importance for biodiversity. With Canada’s new target of 30% by 2030, the availability of KBA spatial information can provide much needed guidance on critical areas for species and ecosystems; and federal, provincial and territorial governments in Canada have embraced KBAs for this purpose. Please see here for a breakdown of what should count towards 30%, according to some global experts – including KBA Canada’s Stephen Woodley. We are in a hurry to complete as large a set of KBAs as possible across all Canadian jurisdictions in order to feed into upcoming land use and protected area planning, which includes planning around Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas. Get in touch if you would like to know the status of KBA work in your Province/Territory/region.

How to make KBAs as effective a tool as possible in Canada

On June 9th, we held a webinar on the progress of the KBA Canada program to date, and discussed the future of the program. Over 90 individuals joined to hear government and NGO perspectives on the value of KBAs. Two years in, enthusiasm for the KBA Program has never been higher, and there is an increasing appetite to work together to ensure that KBAs are effective tools to conserve species and ecosystems in Canada. A number of ideas about increasing the uptake and use of KBAs across sectors emerged from this meeting and from a subsequent meeting of the KBA Coalition. From building awareness of KBAs and the remarkable biodiversity they contain, to incorporating KBAs into NGO and government programs and planning, the effectiveness of KBAs as a tool will depend on their promotion and use by all partners. We’d like to hear from you about how you are using, or planning to use, KBA information and data in your work so that we can support these activities.

Program news:

  • Over the summer we welcomed Peter Soroye to the WCS Canada KBA team, as the new KBA Assessment and Outreach Coordinator. Peter comes from a strong research and science communication background, and we are excited to have him join the KBA initiative. He will support the identification and development of KBA proposals nationally, and with many proposed KBAs now nearing the final stages of national and international acceptance, Peter will be expanding the outreach around these very special places across Canada.
  • Michael Rudy will be joining WCS Canada at the end of September as the KBA Coordinator for Alberta and Saskatchewan. Michael is a botanist based in Alberta who has worked at the Saskatchewan Conservation Data Center and participated in the identification of Important Plant Areas in the province. He also discovered previously unknown (and globally imperiled) alvar ecosystems in Saskatchewan and wrote about it here.
  • NatureServe Canada’s EBAR mapping project, which feeds into our process for identifying KBAs, is actively searching for experts to review auto-generated species range maps for ~300 high-priority species that may trigger KBAs. To learn more about the EBAR mapping project and how you can help, visit their website here
  • Benjamin Mercier, a Master’s student at University of Sherbrooke will be joining us as an intern until November to develop a Shiny App that transforms KBA nomination forms (multi-sheet excel documents) into easy-to-read KBA site summaries that we use to share information about KBAs with partners and for review purposes. If you are interested in reviewing KBAs using our online review tools, please get in touch. We’ll have quite a few KBAs passing through technical and general review in the coming months.
  • Vicky Papuga will be working full-time through the fall and winter as the WCS Canada KBA Intern, supporting all Secretariat activities.
  • Finally, please join me in extending a huge thank you to Jaime Grimm, the KBA Research Associate at WCS Canada and an integral part of the KBA Canada programs success over the last two years (visit our May newsletter for a spotlight on Jaime and her work at the KBA initiative). Good luck in your PhD Jaime!

Upcoming webinars:

  • Robyn Rumney, Ontario KBA Regional Coordinator, will be speaking about “Ontario’s Key Biodiversity Areas: Identifying sites that are critical to the maintenance of biodiversity and sustaining wildlife populations” with the Ontario chapter of The Wildlife Society on September 23rd, from noon-1pm EST. If you would like to hear more about the progress of the KBA program in this region, register here.
  • And stay tuned for our monthly KBA Canada webinar series, returning soon! Contact us if you have ideas or questions related to the KBA program that you’d like to see discussed.

Past webinars

The recordings for all past webinars can be found on our website.

As always, please get in touch if you have questions or if you want to learn more.

Ciara Raudsepp-Hearne

Canada Key Biodiversity Areas Coordinator / Coordonnatrice Zones Clés pour la Biodiversité

Sep 02, 2021