Benefits of Conserving Nature
"Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better"
- Albert Einstein
- Albert Einstein
Never has this statement been more true than today when nature has the power to control flooding, provide better air and water quality, protect biodiversity and fight climate change.
In spite of the inherent benefits of preserving nature, Ontario Nature states that habitat loss and degradation, climate change, invasive species, pollution and over-exploitation of natural resources in Ontario prevails. What's at risk? More than 230 plants and animals in Ontario alone. For example, no other place in North America except Florida has as many species of orchids as found in Grey Bruce.
There is good news though. Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy (EBC) has created 190 nature reserves since 1997. EBC annually delivers over $27.6 million of ecosystem services and protects 17,485 acres of land and 63 species of conservation concern. EBC provides opportunities for soft recreation on many of their reserves such as the Cup and Saucer Trail where more than 10,000 people hike every year.
Canadian Wildlife Federation noted that an ABACUS DATA survey completed in May 2019 showed that 86.5% of Canadians support or strongly support protecting and conserving more natural spaces in Canada. The really good news is that EBC is completing a new reserve monthly and can protect a donated acre of land for as little as $50. That acre typically delivers over $1,800 of ecosystem services every year thereafter.
Ecosystem services can be given real monetary value to establish the economic benefits or losses of elements of nature ... e.g. 2.47 acres of
forest - $25,843
wetlands - $15,171
fence row - $ 1,023
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources SIG Study - 2009
" Total value of final tourism ecosystem services in the Greenbelt ($millions)"
bird watching - $236.30
hiking, climbing, riding - $872.50
Friends of the Ontario Greenbelt Foundation - 2016.
"greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced and stored in forests, farmland, grasslands, and wetlands to deliver more than a third of the reductions required by 2030... equivalent to a complete stop on the burning of oil, worldwide."
Nature Conservancy - 2017
Bob Barnett, founder of the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy and tireless Executive Director, takes a winter walk through an ancient cedar forest and alvar in one of EBC's Lake Huron reserves where the snow softened landscape reinforces the importance of preserving these very special places.
EBC’s focus areas include the Niagara Escarpment, Manitoulin Island, forests and wetlands throughout Bruce and Grey Counties and the Lake Huron shoreline. Due to the location and ecological characteristics of these areas, EBC protects many sensitive ecosystems which include diverse species, communities and some entire habitats.
EBC protects 62 species that are recognized as rare or listed as “at-risk” provincially and/or federally. We also protect rare ecosystems that are sensitive to human impacts, among other threats. To learn more about the flora and fauna we protect, please visit our Sensitive Species and Spaces page!
Due to the location and ecological characteristics of our focus areas, EBC has a variety of rare species on our nature reserves. These species include those that are considered rare provincially and at-risk in Ontario and Canada. See designations used in Our Rare Species, including representing these different levels.
Due to the location of our focus areas, EBC has a variety of rare ecosystems on our nature reserves. These include the Niagara Escarpment, alvars, fen, and Lake Huron shoreline. Visit Our Reserves to see some of these places.
Carbon offsets are real and verified reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. Their purpose is to assist in the mitigation of global warming by compensating or "offsetting" an emissions-producing activity by investing into measurable mechanisms that improve efficiency, conserve energy and biodiversity, and change behaviours. Offset purchasers are taking immediate action on climate change by being responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions they are unable to reduce.
EBC has teamed up with CarbonZero to let you purchase carbon offsets. This facility is coming to the website soon. See more information on Our Carbon Offsets.