Land donations and ecological gifts may hold the key to preserving Canada’s vulnerable ecosystems and maintaining natural heritage lands for years to come.
Forests, marshlands, and valleys — while easily overlooked, these natural backgrounds play host to beloved memories and important ecosystems. As society develops, however, these areas of undisturbed wildlife are becoming few and far between. With increasing populations comes increased pressure to adapt these spaces, making way for urban development. Growing reliance on farming and the rising need for housing are leading to the loss of critically important natural heritage land. Many Canadians don’t fully understand the impact this loss has on the environment and future generations.
South Nation Conservation (SNC), one of Ontario’s 36 conservation authorities, has made it its mission to ensure the preservation and restoration of ecosystems across Eastern Ontario. Like its conservation counterparts, SNC works alongside local municipalities, from the City of Ottawa through 15 rural municipalities near the South Nation, St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers, to support safe and sustainable development, finding ways to balance the demands of society with nature and ecology. The organization focuses on building strong, resilient landscapes that can withstand the impact of climate change while conserving ecologically significant land — creating what can only be described as a living legacy for future generations.
The power of partnership
For over 60 years, SNC’s Land Securement Program has played an important role in giving landowners peace of mind when it comes to the future of their properties. Land securement by conservation-focused organizations is an effective way to preserve and enhance natural heritage for public benefit. As a result of declining forest cover, biodiversity, and natural habitat, SNC’s 16 member municipalities have also contributed annual funding since 2014 to help secure land through partial purchases, contributing to the 13,000 acres of land now owned by SNC.
From forests to wetlands, each ecosystem plays an important role in the natural world, and Land Securement Programs help ensure that these spaces remain untouched. Conservation authorities are recognized partners of choice for public land management, equipped with the resources and expertise to help manage, conserve, and restore them.
Your land, your legacy
SNC can’t do it alone. The organization relies on the generosity of like-minded landowners. Otherwise known as ecological gifts, land donations can allow landowners to retain ownership and access tax incentives while giving conservation authorities the power to work their magic, keeping potentially ecologically vital areas free of urban development. Most importantly, they offer property owners confidence in maintaining the integrity and environmental security of their land for future generations.
After noticing an intensification of farming in the surrounding area, property owners George and Hennie Velema turned to the SNC to preserve their own reforestation work across their 97 acre property, nestled between the South Nation and Raisin Rivers. For the Velemas, donating their land to SNC through the Ecological Gifts Program gave them the comfort of knowing that the property they had nurtured for years would remain a space dedicated to nature long after their retirement.
Conservation authorities like SNC and their local municipalities have worked tirelessly for decades to ensure this beautiful country remains just that. We all have a responsibility to the diverse ecosystems that make up the Canadian landscape — not for ourselves, but so future generations can enjoy the same natural backgrounds so often taken for granted.
Learn more about South Nation Conservation and their Land Securement Strategy.