Protected areas

Terrestrial protected areas

Graphic thumbnail: terrestrial protected areas

This line graph displays the trend in total area of terrestrial protected areas in Canada from 1885 to May 2009. The year 1992 is marked on the graph and labeled “1992, signing of the Convention on Biological Diversity.” In 1885 the first protected area, Banff National Park, accounted for Canada’s total area protected, 6,641 square kilometres. Terrestrial area protected increased to a total of approximately 480,000 square kilometres by 1992. After 1992 the total area protected increased at a faster rate, reaching just over 900,000 square kilometres by May 2009.

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Marine protected areas

Graphic thumbnail: marine protected areas

This line graph displays the trend in total area of marine protected areas in Canada from 1885 to May 2009. The year 1992 is marked on the graph and labeled “1992, signing of the Convention on Biological Diversity.” From 1885 to 1925 the total area protected was zero. From 1925 to 1992 the total area of marine protected areas grew in steps, with a significant increase in 1964. By 1992 the total marine area protected was approximately 20,000 square kilometres. Following 1992, the area protected increased at a faster rate, reaching a total marine protected area for Canada of approximately 45,000 square kilometres by May 2009.

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Percent protected by ecozone+

Graphic thumbnail: percent protected by ecozone+

This map of Canada with ecozone+ boundaries has terrestrial protected areas marked in colour. The map also displays the percent of protected area for each marine and terrestrial ecozone+, current to May 2009. Percentages of terrestrial ecozones+ protected are: Newfoundland Boreal, 7.6%; Atlantic Maritime, 5.3%; Mixedwoods Plains, 1.6%; Boreal Shield, 8.0%; Taiga Shield, 7.0%; Hudson Plains, 11.7%; Arctic, 11.3%; Boreal Plains, 8.0%; Prairie, 4.5%; Montane Cordillera, 18.3%; Western Interior Basin, 9.0%; Pacific Maritime, 4.1%; Boreal Cordillera, 15.3%; Taiga Cordillera, 9.3%; Taiga Plains, 6.9%. Percent of marine ecozones+ protected are: Gulf of Maine and Scotian Shelf, 0.7%; Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence, 2.0%; Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves, 0.1%; Hudson Bay, James Bay, and Foxe Basin, 0.7%; Canadian Arctic Archipelago, 0.9%; Beaufort Sea, 0.3%; North Coast and Hecate Strait, 2.6%; West Coast Vancouver Island, 1.0%; Strait of Georgia, 18.9%. Percentage protected for the one freshwater ecozone+, the Great Lakes, is 0.5%.

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Size of terrestrial protected areas

Graphic thumbnail: size of terrestrial protected areas

This bar graph shows the number and the total area of terrestrial protected areas in Canada by size category. The graph shows that a small number of large protected areas account for a large proportion of the total area protected, while thousands of small protected areas make up a small amount of the total area protected. The data are listed in the points below, by size category:

  1. less than 10 square kilometres in size: 3,760 protected areas cover 8,423 square kilometres;
  2. 10 to 100 square kilometres in size: 881 protected areas cover 29,964 square kilometres;
  3. 100 to 500 square kilometres in size: 346 protected areas cover 79,798 square kilometres;
  4. 500 to 100 square kilometres in size: 72 protected areas cover 51,745 square kilometres;
  5. 1000 to 5000 square kilometres in size: 106 protected areas cover 229,922 square kilometres; and
  6. over 5000 square kilometres in size: 36 protected areas cover 541,446 square kilometres.

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