Establishing Protected Areas
To determine areas that are of special interest to the Protected Areas Initiative (PAI), an analysis of the enduring features of Manitoba has been conducted. Enduring features are combinations of soils and surficial geology that are used to represent the biodiversity within Manitoba’s 18 natural regions (areas that are differentiated from one another by their geographic, climatic and vegetative features). All biological organisms share a connection to the landscapes in which they are found. The soil and landforms that create these landscapes however, endure and are more stable over time than the organisms themselves. As a result, it is easier to identify these more permanent enduring features than it is to attempt to assess the biological diversity of a natural region over time. Representing enduring features in a system of protected lands therefore, serves as a useful way of protecting the biological diversity of a natural region. Enduring features analysis allows for the identification of Areas of Special Interest (ASIs) and aids in prioritizing which areas are most critical for protection.
ASIs are further refined into protected areas proposals through a review process led by Manitoba Conservation with participants from Water Stewardship and Industry, Economic Development, and Mines. This process involves intensive data analysis using a Geographic Information System (GIS) to arrive at the best design to maximize the ecological integrity of the proposal within existing resource constraints. Cross-departmental teams, an Integrated Science Advisory Committee (ISAC) and regionally-based integrated technical teams participate in this process. ISAC is responsible for providing ecological and conservation-based analysis of selected ASIs. They identify ecological features important for the technical teams to consider when planning and designing protected areas proposals.
Protected areas proposals are reviewed through the PAI consultation process with the forestry and mining sectors, First Nations and Aboriginal communities, and other stakeholders. These consultations are an integral aspect of the program because they form a foundation of general agreement upon which a protected area can be granted permanent protection. Comments and concerns generated from these consultations are used to finalize boundaries of the proposed protected area.
Over the last number of years various groups have become interested and involved in understanding and contributing to the identification, establishment and management of protected areas. If you would like specific information on how to become involved with a particular industry, community or interest group, please choose one of the following interest areas.