Provincial protected areas that count toward the 12 per cent goal fall under three different designations:
Parks represent a special case, as only those with a primary focus on protecting nature count toward the 12 per cent goal; other parks are most important for protecting cultural and recreational features and may also have biodiversity conservation value.
Other lands that count toward the 12 per cent goal are those primarily dedicated to the protection of nature, including national parks and wildlife areas, lands owned by land-trust organizations, and conservation easement lands.
This plan identifies about 206,000 ha of land that will be added to the existing parks and protected areas system. These lands are expected to be legally protected by 2015 as wilderness areas, nature reserves, or provincial parks. While many of these lands will be new protected areas, some of these lands are being added to existing protected areas.
In addition to the lands expected to be protected by 2015, the plan identifies several areas for delayed designation, allowing time for additional planning, and restoration/transition from past use. It is expected that delayed designation lands will be legally protected by 2020. The protection of these delayed protection lands will increase protection by an additional 10,600 hectares, or 0.19 percent of the province.
Our Parks and Protected Areas plan also identifies lands that have special circumstances that would need to be addressed before the lands could proceed for legal protection. These potential protection lands may or may not be protected depending on whether circumstances can be suitably addressed. Considerations include: addressing mineral and petroleum rights, completing wood supply and economic development analysis, or acquiring the lands from private land owners. (Note: All private lands shown in the plan are included with the permission of the land owners). These lands comprise 37,800 ha, representing a potential addition of up to 0.68% to the protected areas system.
All provincially owned lands included in this plan will be managed under interim guidelines until they are legally protected, or in the case of lands for potential protection, until final decisions are made respecting protection.
These interim guidelines will be consistently applied by the Department of Natural Resources and Nova Scotia Environment to ensure that the areas included in the plan are managed in a manner consistent with their intended protection.
To address site-specific issues or opportunities, some areas included in the plan will also require additional planning and consultation before they are legally protected. The areas where this applies are noted in the table at the back of this document. This work will refine final protection considerations within the context of this broader plan, and in some cases will include additional public or stakeholder consultation.
This plan expresses government decisions for this new system of protected areas. Additional time is needed to complete the planning, legal, and survey work that will result in the final legal designation of the lands under protection legislation.
This additional work will result in other minor adjustments to individual properties that were not captured under this broader planning exercise. As lands become legally designated under respective legislation, information will be updated on the Parks and Protected Areas Website.