In 2011, the Government of Ontario, Canada, enacted the “Far North Act, 2010” to protect ecological systems and areas of cultural value in northern Ontario in an interconnected network of protected areas. This law establishes that at least 225,000 square kilometres of northern Ontario, known as the Far North, will be protected through the creation of community-based land-use plans. A central purpose of the “Far North Act, 2010” is to create a significant role for First Nation communities in land-use planning, which is cast as a joint responsibility with the Government of Ontario. The maintenance of biological diversity, ecological processes, and ecological functions — including the storage and sequestration of carbon — are key objectives of this land-use planning initiative. This law sets an ambitious target for protected areas coverage; once implemented, terrestrial protected area coverage will cover 26.5% of the Province of Ontario, greatly exceeding the target of 17% coverage for signatories of the international Convention on Biological Diversity by the year 2020.
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Vol. 32 • No. 3