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Ducks Unlimited Canada presents at COP26
Conservation expert explains why boreal wetlands are key to mitigating climate change
Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), one of the country’s largest and longest-standing conservation organizations, will deliver climate solutions research at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). DUC’s presentation will showcase the important role that peatlands—a highly beneficial wetland ecosystem—play in storing and sequestering carbon.
Peatlands are prevalent in Canada’s vast boreal forest, which extends from the Yukon and northern British Columbia in the west to Newfoundland and Labrador in the east. These carbon-rich ecosystems store and sequester more carbon than any other type of terrestrial ecosystem. In fact, it’s estimated that one-quarter of the world’s carbon is held in Canada’s forest habitat.
Kevin Smith, DUC’s national manager of boreal programs, will present research supporting innovative climate solutions being developed in collaboration with conservation partners across Canada.
“We are stressing the need for conservation activities that both increase the amount of carbon absorbed by wetlands and also maintain the carbon already contained in these ecosystems,” says Smith. “When wetlands are left unaltered, the carbon stored in the wetland will not be released into the atmosphere, whereas degraded wetlands will release the carbon, contributing to climate change.”
The boreal region is one of DUC’s highest priority areas for conservation. To date, DUC has positively influenced more than 121 million acres of wetlands and associated natural habitats in the area through partnerships and policy efforts.
“We’ve been actively partnering with governments, Indigenous Peoples and industry to develop comprehensive, science-based approaches for conserving wetlands in the boreal for more than 20 years,” says Larry Kaumeyer, DUC’s chief executive officer. “Today, our collaborative research and on-the-ground habitat work are more important than ever. It’s encouraging that leaders at COP26 recognize the need to better understand and protect these important carbon sinks.”
Earlier during COP26, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasized the importance of nature-based climate solutions to help adapt to the impacts of climate change, protect and restore nature and biodiversity, and strengthen people’s health and well-being. This supports the commitment made by the federal government to protect 25 per cent of Canada’s land and oceans by 2025, working toward 30 per cent by 2030. Investments that support the conservation of boreal forest wetlands, including peatlands, will be essential to reaching these ambitious targets.
Smith will deliver a virtual presentation to delegates gathered at COP26 on November 11. He says the presentation will be valuable for other European and Asian countries that also possess significant peatland areas.
“Canada has an opportunity to be a global leader in employing wetland conservation as an effective tool in climate change mitigation,” says Smith. “Investment in these incredible carbon sinks needs to be a priority for policy makers and industry. We look forward to sharing our science and delivering conservation that will ensure the ongoing security of these vital areas.”
Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations, Indigenous Peoples and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment. To learn more about DUC’s innovative environmental solutions and services, visit www.ducks.ca
Senior Communications Specialist
Ducks Unlimited Canada