The notion of connectivity is inherent to cross-border conservation: to thrive and survive, species need unbroken stretches of nature where they can move freely. As climate change unfolds ecosystems need to adapt and species increasingly migrate northwards in search of new habitat, the need for connectivity becomes more pressing.
AFCN currently supports initiatives that work towards increasing connectivity by creating conservation corridors across North America. These corridors are vital to a variety of species – from plants to large mammals – that move across landscapes in search of food and adequate climates. Scroll down to learn more about some important corridors that have benefited from AFCN’s support.
Jim Prentice Wildlife Corridor – Alberta
Located in Crowsnest Pass, the Jim Prentice Wildlife Corridor is a legacy project that honours Alberta’s late Premier, Jim Prentice, and his commitment to conservation. This area is one of the most important cross-border conservation initiatives in Canadian history. The corridor is roughly three miles wide and will – once all properties are secured – connect numerous parks and protected lands in the region, including Castle Provincial Park, Waterton Lakes National Park and Glacier National Park. This site will establish a north-to-south crossing point in the area and has the potential to connect millions of acres of protected lands in Canada and the United States. Most species living in the mountain region of Alberta will benefit from this corridor, including ungulates (elk, deer, moose) and carnivores (grizzly bear, cougar, wolverine).
Eventually, the Nature Conservancy of Canada hopes to reduce collisions between animals and vehicles by having a wildlife crossing structure installed within the corridor, making it a safer place for people and animals. Connectivity across the Rocky Mountains is essential to the well-being of species that rely on migration for survival, and it heavily relies on the completion of this project.
Ecological Corridors – Quebec
In the wake of climate change, increasing habitat connectivity in southern Quebec has become a conservation priority. This collaborative project helmed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) aims to engage with key actors to conserve the five major ecological corridors that cross the region and extend into the United States. Through their collaboration with both governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as experts and citizens, NCC and its partners hope to guide various actors in taking action and actively seeking solutions to enhance these corridors.
Many projects within the Ecological Corridors territory are linked to the Staying Connected Initiative. These projects, which are clustered around the Canada-U.S. border, include the protection of key areas such as the Green Mountains in Vermont and Quebec. These conservation initiatives are made possible by the collaboration between a large number of Canadian and American actors. For more information about these projects, visit the following interactive map (link to map, ‘other projects’ section).
In Canada, Ski Sutton is a telling example of the kind of landscapes protected through the Ecological Corridors initiative. Recently acquired by NCC, this property is located in the Sutton Mountains range. It is part of a 42,000-acre stretch of conserved, untouched forest within the Northern Green Mountains Natural Area – one of the last regions of southern Quebec where wilderness tracks remain relatively intact. Almost entirely forested, the property provides essential habitat for wide-ranging mammals such as moose, black bear, bobcat and fisher. It is also home to an officially recognized old growth forest and, although no major wetlands have been found on the property, includes at least 18 meandering streams. The streams harbour vulnerable species including northern dusky salamander and spring salamander. As part of the Northern Green Mountains Natural Area, the property helps ensure connectivity through the Northern Appalachians and beyond, linking Canada with the Green Mountains of Vermont.
To learn more about how you can donate to build and safeguard key wildlife corridors in North America, click here.