Environmental and landscape protection in Canada extends over more than 7 % of the territory, and is guaranteed by the federal government, by the provinces, by the governments of the territories delegated by the federal administration; in particular, the nationally protected areas cover approximately 5 % of the surface: 494. 000 km ² including 426 areas (in 1994) between parks, protected landscapes, integral reserves of wild life, biosphere reserves and lake and marine reserves. The extension of the protected areas experienced a strong acceleration from the mid-1960s, with a doubling of the protected area in the space of thirty years (the establishment of the first park, Banff, dates back to 1965).
According to indexdotcom, Salmon fishing is a traditional economic activity in British Columbia, but nowadays its decay is also a sign of the environmental situation: the effects of overfishing, logging and mining on major damless rivers. like the Fraser and the Skeena, they have reduced the salmon population to one-fifth of that of the past; the loss does not consist only in the decrease of the catch, but above all in the weakening or disappearance of numerous original stocks of uncaged salmon, even if the Canadian situation is much better than that south of the border with the United States.
In 1993 Canada imposed severe restrictions on cod fishing on the Newfoundland shoals, cited in the past as one of the most productive in the world. The size of the fish was decreasing from year to year, as well as the quantity of the catch, an unequivocal sign of excessive exploitation. The Province of Nova Scotia’s authorized fishing vessels decreased, by order of the Ministry of Fisheries, from 455 in 1990 to 170 in 1993 ; the Atlantic fishing industry was counting on an average of 1, 5 million tonnes of annual catch, but the severe restrictions imposed to prevent the complete destruction of this resource they have reduced the catch on800,000 ÷ 900. 000 t; To address the unemployment and decay of the fisheries-related industry, critical to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, the Ottawa government has allocated $ 400 million in funding for unemployment benefits and restructuring incentives. The United States implements a similar safeguard plan for the contiguous fishing schools of northern New England; but global agreements are needed with France, which owns the islands of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon near Newfoundland, and with Denmark for the fishing schools of Greenland.
The Great Lakes, the largest lake ecosystem in the world, overlooked by Canada and the United States, have been subjected in the past decades to all forms of environmental compromise of human origin; on the catchment area of the Great Lakes, vast 520. 000 km ², about 40 gravitatemillions of residents, as well as massive industrial and urban systems. Significant quantities of toxic waste enter the Great Lakes each year, despite improvements due to decades of regulation by the governments of the Canada and the United States, and on the basis of joint agreements of the two countries; eutrophication, due to the excess of phosphorus brought about by the washing away of agricultural and livestock lands, by detergents (despite the drastic reduction of non-biodegradable substances) and by the waste from navigation, stimulates the growth of algae, which subtract oxygen from the water ; moreover, the diffusion of exotic plant and animal species is now massive, brought over time by ocean vessels, which hinder the life of local species, reducing biodiversity. However, the cooperation between Canada
In Canada a political debate continued for a long time aimed at leading the Arctic territories (especially the North-West Territories) to a supervised semi-independence, or in any case to a strong autonomy, or to the transformation into a tenth and eleventh province, that is, in autonomous states united in the federal bond and no longer federal territories administered directly by the Ottawa government. Nunavut is the Inuit name of the new provincial entity finally established in April 1999. The Inuit, the Amerindians and the Mestizos, who make up the native population of the North, had proposed dividing the territory into two large regions: one north of the treeline, the extreme belt of the forest, called Nunavut., left to the Inuit, and another, called Denendeh, south of the tundra. Above all, the Nunavut institution presented problems associated with military bases installed in remote areas at the time of the Cold War, including a network of radar and satellite sighting stations. Other forms of reconciliation are to be identified for the exploitation of the huge mineral and energy resources that began in the 1970s both in the Yukon and in the Northwest Territories: the Mackenzie River Delta region has proved promising for oil, as has Norman Wells, between the Franklin and Mackenzie mountain ranges, the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic islands; therefore between the parallels of 70 ° and 77° important oil fields have been identified. Their exploitation has led to some environmental failures, in addition to the high costs necessary to drill the permafrost, that is the perennially frozen soil even at considerable depth, and to build a network of oil pipelines that carry the crude oil to the Alberta refineries. Furthermore, the inevitable influx of men, means, technologies and investments into an almost virgin region has meant shocking impacts, albeit for now in restricted areas.
This influx, as early as the 1960s, led to the partial abandonment of traditional ways of life (fishing for the Inuit, hunting for the Amerindians), a phenomenon destined to worsen in the early 2000s. The current settlements of the natives are a mixture of tradition and modernity, because in the historical sites in the Mackenzie Valley for the Amerindians, and on the Arctic coasts accessible by sea in the summer months and almost isolated in the rest of the year for the Inuit, there are some services implanted with the help of the federal government, and even supermarkets in major ones, such as Pond Inlet.
In the North, compared to the rest of the country, there are fewer parks, five, but much larger than the others. The largest is Wood Buffalo – declared a World Protection Site by UNESCO – with an area of over 44. 000 km ², the border between Alberta and the Northwest Territories, with forest landscape and subarctic and a population of 6000 bison, the largest group in the world. North Yukon National Park, created in 1984, on the other hand, it protects the most impressive seasonal migration in North America, that of the caribou; it has large humid areas where many water birds have their home; in addition, the three main species of bears (black, grizzly and white), threatened with extinction elsewhere, are protected. An even different landscape offers Anyuittuq park on Baffin Island, while the beauties of the Nordic mountains can be admired in Nohanni and Mackenzie.
The challenge of the next few years is to preserve the environments and landscapes of the Great North and at the same time to exploit some of the immense economic resources, compatibly with sustainable development. The polar north of the Earth, of which Canada occupies a substantial part, is one of the last frontiers for the survival of the planet, like the most famous equatorial forests. Furthermore, further south, the extension of the Canadian cold subarctic and temperate forest, which is, together with the Siberian taiga, the largest in the world, must be preserved beyond the economic interests of the moment, because it is one of the last great ‘lungs’ of the Earth. According to FAO data, in the decade 1980 – 90the Canadian boreal forest has not decreased in surface area, on the contrary it has had a slight increase. However, according to studies by the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD), the original forest has decreased by about 20 % since 1980, replaced by newly planted logging forests. According to the Worldwatch Institute, each year in BC will cut around 17. 000 ha of native forest, destined, through wood pulp and paper mills, to the publishing industry in the United States. In the decade 1980 – 90, emissions of pollutants, caused by acid rain, which had affected extensive forest areas, decreased by 20%, and a further reduction of 15 % is expected for the year 2000, especially in sulfur compounds.