CONSERVATION ACTION PLANNING IN THE A2A The A2A Collaborative has initiated a multi stage project to bring Conservation Action Planning to the A2A Region. This initiative has been supported largely through SEED grants from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
What is Conservation Action Planning?
Conservation Action Planning (CAP) is a method for planning, executing and evaluating environmental conservation initiatives within ecoregions. It is generally introduced when there is good scientific information available about a clearly identifiable natural area, and where overall conservation goals have been largely identified, which is the case in the A2A region.
CAP provides an adaptive, pragmatic management framework to support the development and implementation of concrete conservation actions. The framework is structured to emphasize results and continuous learning through on-going monitoring and assessment. CAP has been developed, implemented and tested by the Nature Conservancy (U.S.) over many years, and is consistent with the Open Standards for Conservation Practice. Information on the Open Standards approach can be found here
More locally, since 2008, CAP has been used by the Carolinian Canada Coalition to develop conservation strategies for “biodiversity hotspots”, part of the Coalition’s on-going work helping to coordinate ecosystem recovery efforts in the Carolinian Life Zone. Information on the Carolinian Canada program can be found here
Structure and scope:
The CAP framework is made up of four basic components: defining a conservation project; developing conservation strategies and measures; implementing the strategies and measures; and using project results to adapt and improve. This is the framework that is applied around the world in almost every type of ecoregion imaginable.
The scale of a conservation action plan is flexible. Needs, resources, and capacities may vary from project to project within an ecoregion or natural area, and the CAP process can still serve as the primary planning mechanism. It can also be adapted to meet many different types of conservation goals, ranging from conservation of species, sites, ecosystems, landscapes, and watersheds, all the way to seascapes and marine areas.
A wide array of outcomes from CAP activities is possible, varying according to: locally-developed consensus about a region’s needs; available resources; and existing knowledge and capacity. For example, target outcomes could range from specific site improvements, e.g., quantifiable reductions of invasive plant species, to the identification of gaps in scientific knowledge that can be addressed in subsequent conservation activities in a given CAP area.
The CAP process emphasizes the importance of local involvement and local guidance and brings together local partners to set conservation objectives and strategies through structured information sharing, collaboration and consensus. CAP integrates place-based knowledge with evolving scientific understanding to drive the selection of appropriate conservation actions and to achieve specific outcomes.
The CAP process asks participants to engage in a structured dialogue to identify what they want to conserve; their current best understanding of what constitutes “good health” for a given conservation target; and what the current conditions are regarding this target.
These discussions lead to establishing objectives and specific actions to conserve a particular target. Each action is accompanied by measures that enable participants to assess progress, adapt and learn.
A2A Conservation Action Planning Initiative
Learn more about the A2A initiative and Conservation Action Planning by listening to the A2A stage 1 webinar here
The A2A initiative involves two stages.
Stage 1, completed in 2017, has established an A2A lens or framework.
A report describing this stage and the A2A lens can be found here
Stage 2 launched in 2019 with completion of a local CAP in the Frontenac Arch Area which addresses local conservation priorities within the context of A2A scale challenges and objectives:
This project builds on a successful 2016-2017 SEED grant project in which A2A developed a landscape scale "lens" approach to applying the Conservation Action Planning (CAP) Framework within the Algonquin to Adirondack (A2A) corridor. The goal is to pilot this lens approach while developing a local Conservation Action Plan and establishing the necessary process and evidence to apply our landscape scale Lens to multiple Conservation Action Plans across the A2A corridor. CAP represents a robust, repeatable and well- tested open concept planning process, building on existing local conservation efforts through stakeholder workshops that focus on opportunity and action. Applying the A2A landscape scale lens will place threats, targets, and actions within a regional context to ensure that local conservation action plans consider the bigger conservation picture.
The development of the A2A lens and refinement of the landscape scale CAP process has provided a solid foundation for the incorporation of landscape scale considerations into local Conservation Action Plans. This project tested the application through a local Conservation Action Plan in the Frontenac Arch Biosphere area using CAP workshop formats and Miradi software which provides a database, analytical capabilities and automatic report formats to support Conservation Action Planning
Activities occurred in 4 stages: 1. Confirmation of local CAP study area boundaries and stakeholders 2. Preliminary workshops to apply the A2A lens and stakeholder engagement models 3. Local Conservation Action Plan workshops that incorporate the landscape scale work from stage 1. 4. Report production with CAP priority actions and implementation strategy.
Over 30 participants worked through the CAP process in a series of 5 workshops. The report and initial FAB CAP can be found here
INVASIVE SPECIES ACTION - MARCH 4 WORKSHOP
A2A is currently building on the FAB CAP by exploring potential action items, starting with Invasive Species control. On March 4, 2021, an initial workshop was held with CAP participants and other invasive species stakeholders on the Frontenac Arch Biosphere area to share experiences and challenges and begin to craft an Invasive Species action. Presentations and recordings from the session can be found at March 4 workshop. Stay tuned as we develop the Invasive Species action on the ground.