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New analysis using Canada's carbon map shows how wildlife conservation also benefits climate

Study shows previously identified conservation actions for the Saint John River watershed provide advantages for both wildlife and carbon

Saint John, NB, Dec. 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new study from WWF-Canada has assessed the carbon benefits of previously identified conservation actions that benefit wildlife in the Wolastoq/Saint John River watershed in New Brunswick.

If the strategies that have most benefit for wildlife are implemented, particularly the protection and conservation of 17 per cent of the region, 6.1 Mt CO2e – the equivalent to about half of the province’s overall greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 – will be prevented from being released.

The recommended actions were determined in 2020 using a conservation decision-support framework called Priority Threat Management (PTM), which found the province of New Brunswick could secure the recovery of 40 species within the Wolastoq/SJR watershed at a cost of $25.8 million per year for 25 years (the annual equivalent of $33 per person in New Brunswick).

WWF-Canada assessed the carbon benefit of the recommended actions by evaluating how they helped to avoid carbon emissions (e.g., by protecting carbon found in nature) or remove them from the atmosphere (e.g., by restoring carbon sinks that absorb and store carbon in vegetation and soils).

Taken together, the PTM report and the complementary carbon analysis can guide conservation actions that benefit both biodiversity and climate change mitigation.

“This analysis comes at a pivotal time. Conservation work can, and must, have benefits for both biodiversity loss and climate change. These two crises can’t be dealt with separately anymore, and now we have an example of the benefits of doing both at the same time in a specific region of Canada,” says Simon J. Mitchell, VP of Resilient Habitats at WWF-Canada.

The study is just one example of how the data collected in WWF-Canada's recently released Mapping Canada's Carbon Landscapes project — which showed the location and depth of carbon stores across the country — can be used to evaluate the carbon benefits of conservation strategies. The entire Wolastoq/SJR watershed contains 5,066 Mt CO2e.

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada is committed to equitable and effective conservation actions that restore nature, reverse wildlife loss and fight climate change. We draw on scientific analysis and Indigenous guidance to ensure all our efforts connect to a single goal: a future where wildlife, nature and people thrive. For more information visit wwf.ca.

CONTACT: Tina Knezevic WWF-Canada media@wwfcanada.org