Natural Areas Conservation Program

The Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a partnership to accelerate the rate of private land conservation and protect important natural habitat in communities across southern Canada.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) administers the program, securing important natural habitat – including forests, grasslands and wetlands – with the participation of Ducks Unlimited Canada and other land trusts. Habitat protected under the NACP connects or enhances corridors to existing protected areas, such as national parks, national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries.

A significant investment in nature

$277.5M has been invested in the NACP by Environment and Climate Change Canada to the end of fiscal 2015-2016. This investment has been matched with more than $500M in funds from non-federal sources, landowners, provincial governments, the private sector and Canadians at large.

More than 1 million acres (418,000 hectares) have been conserved since the onset of the program. The NACP is on track to conserve $1B worth of ecologically significant land by 2020.

The NACP is a unique public-private partnership that has allowed NCC to connect more Canadians than ever to our country’s conservation mission. NCC also proudly partners with farmers and ranchers on working landscapes to keep lands productive while enhancing their conservation values.

An investment in a natural future

Habitat not only conserves our biodiversity; it also sequesters carbon dioxide and stores a substantial amount of carbon. Conserved areas provide opportunities for ecosystems and species to adapt to climate change and help mitigate threats, such as flooding and drought.

Land conservation is an integral part of any climate change strategy. The Natural Areas Conservation Program supports the Government of Canada’s efforts to meet its international commitments under the Aichi Convention on Biological Diversity.

The program also protects habitat for many of Canada’s endangered and iconic species, such as grizzly bear, mountain caribou and plains bison. To date, habitat has been protected for 181 COSEWIC[1]- assessed species at risk[2].

Results achieved under the Natural areas conservation program, by province

Hectares and species at risk (SAR) identified on NCC properties as of May 31, 2016.

Province Total area protected, in hectares, since the onset of the program # of COSEWIC-assessed species at risk that occur on these lands
British Columbia 228,800 47
Alberta 46,500 30
Saskatchewan 53,500 22
Manitoba 23,900 29
Ontario 25,300 92
Quebec 27,000 38
New Brunswick 4,200 13
Prince Edward Island 640 4
Nova Scotia 7,000 19
Newfoundland and Labrador 2,400 8


[1] Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada

[2] Many species are found in multiple properties