23 de outubro de 2018


Paulo Bidegain

Parks and protected areas in Canada have a long tradition, dating back to 1885. The first designated protected area was Banff National Park, established in 1885 to protect hot springs discovered on the eastern slopes of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, only three years after Yellowstone National Park was established by USA. It was followed by the Parks of Niagara (1885, formerly known as Queen Victoria Niagara Falls Park) established by the Government of Ontario, Last Mountain Lake (1887) in Saskatchewan, Canada’s first waterfowl refuge, and two Ontario Provincial Parks, Algonquin (1893) and Rondeau (1894). In 1911 the world’s first organization charged with the management of national parks, the Dominion Parks Branch, was established, which is nowadays the Parks Canada Agency. 

Under the Constitution of Canada, responsibility for environmental management, including in that broad mandate the designation and implementation of parks and protected areas in Canada, is a shared responsibility between the federal government and provincial/territorial governments. A small but increasing number is also administered by Aboriginal governments and communities. Some protected areas are jointly managed by two or more administrations.  

Canada has ratified the following international agreements relating to protected areas and habitats:

·         Convention on Biological Diversity;
·         Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar); 
·         Declaration of Intent for the Conservation of North American Birds and their Habitat;  
·         Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears and Their Habitats;
·         Convention for the Protection of Migratory Birds in the United States and Canada;  
·         Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States on the Conservation of the Porcupine Caribou Heard;
·         Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage World Heritage Convention;

By 2011, figures show that: 

·    Canada has substantially grown the amount of area protected in the last 60 years: 1950 = 1.7% of Canada: 1975 = 3.0%; 2000 = 6.7%; 2005 = 9.3%; 2010 = 11.8%);
·   Canada has set aside 11.8% of its lands and freshwaters as protected areas (permanent and interim);
·    Only 45,280 km2 (0.64 %) of Canada’s oceans are protected;
·   Canada’s terrestrial protected areas network includes a total of 117.9 million hectares (ha). 36.0 million hectares ha (30.5%) of these lands currently have interim protection;
·    For IUCN categories I to IV, Canada has set aside 7.9% (78.9 M ha) of its lands and freshwaters;
·    20% of Canada’s ecozones are afforded greater than 20% protection, 40% have between 10% and 20% protection, and 40% have less than 10% protection;
·   The extent of protected areas in Canada varies considerably between different ecological regions of the country. 22.4% of the Arctic Cordillera ecozone is found within protected areas, compared with 8.4% of the Boreal Shield ecozone, and 1.1% of the Mixedwood Plain ecozone (Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Valley).
·   Three jurisdictions have set aside more than 10% of their area: British Columbia at 14.5%, Alberta at 12.5% and Yukon at 10.8% ;
·   Northwest Territories and Quebec have added the most area of new protected areas between 2000 and 2010 (23,011.437 and 12,551,481 hectares respectively);
·   Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador have increased the most between 2000 and 2010 as a percent of what they had in 2000 (2009% and 342% respectively) (Environment Canada, 2009; Lee and Cheng, 2010)

In Canada, at federal level, there is not an official system of parks and protected established by law. Instead, many types of protected areas have been designed and managed by separated institutions based on specific acts and policies. Each has its own legislation, with different level of protection.

Summary of Canada’s Federal Protected Areas of National and International Recognition
Major Policy

National Recognition
National Parks and National Parks Reserve
Parks Canada Agency
National Parks Act
National Park System Plan
Gatineau Park
Gatineau Park Management Plan
National Historic Sites
Parks Canada Agency
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Sites of Canada System Plan
National Marine Conservation
Parks Canada Agency
Canada National Marine Conservation
Areas Act
i) National Marine Conservation Areas Policy
ii) Sea to Sea to Sea –Canada’s National Marine Conservation Areas System Plan
Marine Protected Areas
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
Oceans Act
i) National Framework for Establishing and Managing Marine Protected Areas
ii) Ocean Strategy
Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Environment Canada - Canadian Wildlife Service
Migratory Birds Convention Act:
Migratory Bird Sanctuary Policy, Criteria and
National Wildlife
Environment Canada - Canadian Wildlife Service
Canada Wildlife Act:
i) Wildlife Policy for Canada
Criteria for Selecting Candidate National Wildlife Areas
Heritage Rivers
Parks Canada Agency (CHR Board Secretariat)
No new legislation, depend on existing laws and regulation
Canadian Heritage Rivers System (CHRS)

International Recognition
Wetlands of International Importance
Environment Canada
Canadian Wildlife Service
Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar)

National Ramsar Program
Federal Policy on Wetland Conservation
World Heritage Sites
Parks Canada
World Heritage Convention
Tentative List for World Heritage Sites in Canada.
Biosphere Reserves
Environment Canada
The UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Program
Source: compiled from several sources.    

Additionally, there are at least more 13 protected areas systems, being 10 provincial and three territorial.

Parks Canada is the major protected area agency, managing 42 parks, ranging in size from 8.7 km2 to 44,807 km2 and collectively covering an area of 224,466 km2, which represents 2.2% of the total area of Canada. Environment Canada is responsible for 51 National Wildlife Areas (NWAs) and 92 Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, to protect habitat for migratory birds, support wildlife or ecosystems at risk, or represent rare or unusual wildlife habitat or a biogeographic region. Fisheries and Oceans Canada manages only eight marine protected areas (MPAs).

Forty-one rivers have been nominated to the Canadian Heritage Rivers System (CHRS), totalling almost 11,000 kilometres. Canada presently has 37 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Site), with a surface area of 13,066,675 hectares. On top of that, 16 Biosphere Reserve and 15 World Heritage Sites have been established. 

In 1992, Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial ministers of environment, parks and wildlife signed a Statement of Commitment to Complete Canada’s Network of Protected Areas, but the goals weren’t met

Major challenges related to protected areas plan and management are:

·         The needs for a national strategy and an up-to-date management plan;  
·         Insufficient human and financial resources; 
·         Pressures for development within the parks to accommodate the demands of visitors without damaging the ecosystems;
·         Visitor satisfaction improvement;
·         Keep national parks’ ecological integrity;
·         External threats management, such as invasion by exotic species, poaching, mining, logging, agriculture, urbanization, fire, water projects, hunting, tourism, acid precipitation, and chemical pollution;
·         Effects of climate change, in which several protected areas are project to experience a change in biome type (parks will no longer be representative of their natural region);
·         Research partnerships (Dearden, 2008, Dearden and Mitchell, 2009, Lemieux. and. Scott, 2005)


Dearden, P & Mitchell, B. I. (2009). Endanged Species and Protected Areas. In: ___.  Environmental Change and Challenge: A Canadian Perspective. Third Edition, Oxford University Press.

Dearden, P. (2008). Progress and Problems in Canada’s Protected Areas: Overview of Progress, Chronic Issues and Emerging Challenges in the Early 21st Century. Paper Commissioned for Canadian Parks for Tomorrow: 40th Anniversary Conference, May 8 to 11, 2008, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.  Retrieved December 2, 2011, from University of Calgary Website:

Dudley, N. (Editor) (2008). Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.  x+ 86pp.

Dudley, N., Mulongoy, K.J., Cohen S, Stolton, S., Barber, C.V. & Gidda, S.B. (2005). Towards Effective Protected Area Systems. An Action Guide to Implement the Convention on Biological Diversity Programme of Work on Protected Areas. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal, Technical Series no. 18, 108 pages.

Ecological Stratification Working Group (1995). A National Ecological Framework for Canada. Report and national map at 1:7 500 000 scale. Ottawa: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Branch, Centre for Land and Biological Resources Research; and Hull: Environment Canada, State of the Environment Directorate, Ecozone Analysis Branch.

Environment Canada. (2008). Compendium of International Environmental Agreements. Gatineau, Quebec. Multilateral and Bilateral Relations Directorate. International Affairs Branch.

NRC. (2011). Protected Areas through Time In: ____. The Atlas of Canada. Natural Resources Canada. Retrieved December 10, 2011, from

Environment Canada. (2009). Canada’s 4th National Report to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. Gatineau, Quebec. Ecosystems and Biodiversity Priorities Division.

Lee, P. and Cheng, R. (2010). Canada’s Terrestrial Protected Areas Status Report 2010: Number, Area and “Naturalness.” Edmonton, Alberta. Global Forest Watch Canada, 10th Anniversary Publication #6. 155 pp. The most updated source of Canada protected areas.   

Lemieux, C. and. Scott, D. J. (2005). Climate change, biodiversity conservation and protected area planning in Canada. The Canadian Geographer 49, no 4 (2005) 384–399

UNEP/CDB (2011). United Nation Decade of Biodiversity. Protected Areas Fast Facts. Retrieved December 8, 2011, from UNEP Website:    

14 de outubro de 2018

Mental health benefits of the outdoors

Source:  Sarah McMichael - Ontario Parks Blog.

Do you ever find yourself feeling calmer, more relaxed, or more focussed after spending time in nature? That’s because time outside has studied and proven benefits for your mental health. Mental illness affects one in five Canadians in any given year. This World Mental Health Day, let’s talk about what some Vitamin N (nature) can do for your mental health.

A simple stay in the outdoors can do wonders for relieving anxiety, stress, and depression. Countless studies have proven that nature has a positive effect on your mental health. What you see, hear, and experience in nature can improve your mood in a moment.

There is a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced negative emotions. This includes symptoms of anxiety, depression, and psychosomatic illnesses like irritability, insomnia, tension headaches, and indigestion.

Feeling stressed? Research shows a link between exposure to nature and stress reduction. Stress is relieved within minutes of exposure to nature as measured by muscle tension, blood pressure, and brain activity. Time in green spaces significantly reduces your cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Nature also boosts endorphin levels and dopamine production, which promotes happiness.

Nature has a myriad of other brain benefits as well. Contact with nature has restorative properties, increasing energy and improving feelings of vitality and focus. Being nearby to nature has been shown to reduce symptoms of ADHD.

Are you stuck on a project or idea? Being outside also improves creative thinking.5 Proximity to green space can restore capacity for concentration and attention.

Trouble sleeping? A two-hour walk in the woods is enough to improve sleep quality and help relieve sleep problems. Sleeping away from artificial light and waking up with natural sunlight can reset your circadian rhythm, which will help you feel refreshed after a better night’s sleep.

Nature can also help with the grief process. This is because exposure to nature causes better coping, including improved self-awareness, self-concept, and positively affected mood.

The positive effects of nature affect the way you treat others. People are more caring and positive when they are exposed to and around various forms of nature.

Getting outdoors doesn’t have to be a lot of work. There are lots of simple ways you can get quality time in nature.

Start with taking a walk in the woods. Nature walks help combat stress while improving mental well-being. Want to take your walk to the next level? Try forest bathing.

Move your workout into the outdoors. Regular use of natural areas for physical activity can reduce the risk of mental health problems by 50%. Completing activities like walking, cycling, jogging, or doing yoga in a natural environment makes you happier than in the city.

Engage your senses to maximize the health benefits of being outside. Breathe deep, as the scent of fresh pine has been shown to lower stress and anxiety. Make sure to pause and listen, as studies show that listening to nature sounds like bird songs and rushing water can help lower stress levels.

Book a camping trip. Immersing yourself in nature for a longer period of time is the best way to absorb the health benefits of the outdoors.

9 de abril de 2018

Parques, Intervenção e Inclusão Social

Paulo Bidegain

Em 1932, em plena grande recessão nos Estados Unidos, assume o poder o presidente Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Nos 100 primeiros dias de governo, Roosevelt aprovou diversas medidas, dentre elas a Lei do Trabalho Emergencial de Conservação (Emergency Conservation Work Act), que ficou mais conhecida como Corpo Civil de Conservação (CCC). Roosevelt propôs recrutar milhares de trabalhadores, alistá-lo em um exército civil e enviá-los para os “campos de batalha” para lutar contra a erosão e a destruição ambiental. A velocidade recorde com o plano avançou desde o planejamento, autorização e operação é tido como um feito de cooperação entre agências e departamentos do Governo Federal. O primeiro trabalhador alistou-se apenas 37 dias após a posse do presidente.

Conhecido também como “Roosevelt's Tree Army”, o CCC durou cerca de dez anos e produziu os seguintes resultados: 

·         3,470 torres de observação de incêndios florestais erguidas;
·         156 mil km de estradas de apoio ao combate à incêndios florestais;  
·         2 milhões de horas de 235 mil homens devotadas para combater incêndios;
·         3 bilhões de árvores plantadas;
·         Proteção de habitats de animais silvestres;
·         Controle de doenças e de insetos;
·         Inventários florestais e reflorestamentos;
·         Implantação de infraestruturas para recreação em parques e áreas protegidas;

Muitos políticos da época acreditam que o CCC foi o maior responsável pela queda de 55% da criminalidade no país. Nos parques e áreas protegidas, o CCC plantou árvores, abriu e manteve estradas, trilhas e mirantes, além de construir áreas de piquenique, campings, cabanas, banheiros públicos e outras infraestruturas e facilidades.

Em 1985, John Paige, funcionário do Serviço de Parque Nacional dos Estados Unidos (National Park Service) publicou um relatório intitulado “The Civilian Conservation Corps and the National Park Service, 1933– 1945: An Administrative History”. No relatório, Paige cita que o grande impulso para a disseminação dos parques estaduais em todo o país foi devido ao CCC.

Já em 1935, graças aos serviços do CCC, 41 estados desenvolviam programas para implantação de parques estaduais visando aproveitar a mão-de-obra remunerada pelo Governo Federal. Para exemplificar, em 1933 o Poder Legislativo da Florida rapidamente aprovou uma lei determinando ao Conselho Florestal a incumbência de selecionar áreas adequadas para implantação de parques e florestas estaduais. O sistema de parques estaduais da Flórida foi oficialmente instituído em 1935 e, em apenas um ano, sete áreas protegidas foram criadas. Paige aponta que o CCC estimulou a criação de nada menos que 711 parques estaduais no país.

Os resultados extraordinários obtidos pelo CCC na década de 1930 do século passado comprovam que os parques podem ser instrumentos efetivos de inclusão social e fazer a diferença.  O Estado Rio de Janeiro abriga em suas regiões mais pobres, milhares de jovens que não trabalham nem estudam, sem perspectivas de futuro e esperança de uma vida melhor.

Inspirado no CCC, o Exército, com apoio dos Governos Federal e do Estado e das Prefeituras poderia desenvolver um programa semelhante, recrutando jovens entre 16 e 25 anos para trabalhar nos parques nacionais, estaduais e municipais e nas praças, parques urbanos e praias ou mesmo para a melhoria ambiental e urbanística das comunidades. O programa pode envolver treinamento básico para as funções e, ao mesmo tempo, a capacitação para exercer uma profissão, preparando-os para quando fossem desligados do programa.    

Os jovens podem trabalhar tanto na sede dos órgãos gestores de áreas protegidas quando nas pontas. A experiência internacional mostra que para operar de forma eficiente, parques demandam diversas profissões de nível médio. O quadro a seguir resume um elenco preliminar de ocupações.   

Profissões de Nível Médio e Elementar

Turismo, Uso Público e Comunicação
Técnico de Gestão de Turismo, Técnico em Guia de Turismo, Técnico em Lazer, Técnico em Eventos, Técnico em Hospedagem, Monitor de Turismo, Atendente Bilíngue, Salva-Vidas. Webdesigner, Técnico de Comunicação.
Manejo da Flora e Fauna
Técnico de Meio Ambiente, Técnicos Agrícolas e Florestais, Jardineiros, Mergulhador, Piloto de Embarcação (Mestre Arrais)  
Técnico Guarda-Parque, Bombeiro Civil (resgate e combate a incêndios)
Infraestrutura (Manutenção e Reparo Predial), Veiculos e Equipamentos    
Técnicos de Edificação, Eletricistas, Bombeiros Hidráulicos, Pedreiros, Carpinteiros, Mecânico.
Técnico de Geoprocessamento
Técnico Administrativo, Auxiliar de Escritório, Almoxarife, Secretária, Técnico de Segurança do Trabalho, Técnico de Recursos Humanos  

Para viabilizar recursos basta cortar a enorme gordura dos superorçamentos de órgãos como o Tribunal de Justiça do Estado (R$ 3,663 bilhões), ALERJ (R$ 1,031 bilhão), Tribunal de Contas do Estado (R$ 717,3 milhões), Defensoria Pública Geral do Estado (R$ 649 milhões) e da Procuradoria Geral do Estado (R$ 326 milhões). Ou mesmo da Câmara de Vereadores, Procuradoria e Controladoria Geral da Capital, que juntos gastam R$ 1,2 bilhão, transferindo-os para o programa.  

Para mais informações:

Civilian Conservation Corps (Wikipedia) – clique aqui

Civilian Conservation Corps (National Park Service) – clique aqui

Civilian Conservation Corps (US History Site) – clique aqui

Civilian Conservation Corps Museum – clique aqui

Roosevelt's Tree Army – clique aqui

Vídeo American Experience The Civilian Conservation Corps – clique aqui

Video Trail of History - Civilian Conservation Corp & Works Progress Administration – clique aqui