Help the animals find their way

I arrived early in Prévost for my country An interview with Marie-Lynn Despres-Inspinner, Director of Éco-corridors laurentiens. But I don’t mind waiting. I take advantage of the sun that melts the snow softly under my feet. Hawally, wonderful mountains and cliffs.

It’s the end of March, and spring is just around the corner. We can already hear nature wake up slowly but surely. When Mary Lynn arrived, I asked her if she wanted to walk the roads. Although none of us were wearing hiking clothes, we set out to explore the Alfred Kelly Nature Reserve.

As we walk among the tall trees, Mary Lynn exclaims: “Look, traces of animals! » We don’t know who owns it, but very soon beavers, hawks, hares and even elk will share the trails of the reserve. Here, we are at the heart of conservation. Animals come here to find sanctuary, breed and feed.

Cliffs of Alfred Kelly Nature Reserve. (Photo: Mary Catherine Goudreau)

Alfred Kelly Nature Reserve is one of the Some protected areas in the Laurentians. The next closest conservation nucleus is located 20 kilometers away in Saint-Hippolyte. Animals mustRun all this distance to go from one home to another. Their whole journey More difficult if there are houses and roads This segmentation of the way.

This is why Éco-corridors laurentiens works to connect conservation centers through ecological corridors. the same way we use auhighways to move from one city to another, Or from our work to our homeEvils use these lanes to move From one natural habitat to another.

When we destroy a forest, we build there A new development is like a major accident on one of our roads. Sometimes it results from an accident on the farmTure of the highway, forcing people To find another way to go home. For animals, their movements are not only disrupted, but they lose areas necessary for their survival.

Since 2011, Eco-corridors laurentiens moeducating municipalities, regional coordination mechanisms and citizens, and educating them to protect forests and Reducing habitat fragmentation. all of this It is part of a long-term project aimed at Connecting the entire Laurentians region via lanes. “It is a large region. Our role is to establish dialogues and work in cooperation with the various actors in the region.”Mary Lynn explains. She says that with the area’s increasing development, maintaining these lanes is more important than ever.

strategic places

In dark green, protected areas, then in light green, ecological corridors. This is the goal that Éco-corridors laurentiens would like to achieve. Credit: Laurentian Eco-corridors

To determine where the corridors and cores should be, Éco-corridors analyzed the needs of animals such as wolves, woodland birds, the American tank, wood frogs, white-tailed deer, and moose.

The organization uses geographic data and landscape maps to locate these places, explains Mary-Lynn DePres-Espinner. For example, they determine what constitutes an ideal habitat in the area for a wolf, and then the program “He will locate the forests and cores, and then find the passages that cross the forest”as you say.

“Sometimes when there is a new development some animals like wolves or deer go there to find food, because it was their ancient habitat”, she explained. that it Dangerous, both for residents and for them the animals themselves.

Currently, Éco-corridors mainly focus on acquiring land near the Mont-Tremblant National Park. “We want to create a buffer zone near the park, so that there are not only developed areas around it. Animals like wolves have been observed living in and out of the park. So it is important to protect the trails”Mary Lynn explains.

Éco-corridors also work in close cooperation with the Nature Conservation Canada. This organization mainly focuses on To acquire natural environments to protect the animals and plants found in these sites.

Marie-Lynn DePres-Inspiner is the Director of Éco-corridors Laurentiens. Photo: Marie Catherine Godreau

Reducing habitat fragmentation

At Laurentians, real estate development is the most worrisome issue in the short term. Since the beginning of the epidemic, many people have come to live here, and cities are developing very quickly. We are in momentum. Our job is to protect what’s left.”-Eco-corridors manager supports.

In the northern Laurentian region, Éco corridors are primarily focused on reducing fragmentationFrom the habitat, while in the south, where It is more developed, the organism instead increases contact.

According to Dominique Berto, holder of the Canada Chair for Research in Northern Biodiversity, one of the biggest challenges in creating corridors is habitat modification by humans. “We are making a lot of changes in nature through roads and urbanization, and this is fragmenting the area and making it difficult for species to adapt”Mr. Berto said.

“Do we want to have a healthy environment?”asks Mr. Berto. Often times, habitat degradation occurs faster than conservation, and this is a problem. »

There are three types of lanes

The corridor step by step: Several small habitats connected by a buffer zone

home corridor: A long and wide portion of land bounded by a buffer zone

mosaic corridor: A long continuous corridor consisting of different habitats, without a buffer zone. Humans can maintain some of these habitats, such as cultivated fields.

When climate change complicates travel

Climate change also affects many animal species. As temperatures rise, species tend to settle in places with a climate to which they have adapted. “When the climate changes, we see that the distribution of species will also change”Explains researcher Dominique Berto.

“One of the main effects of climate change is that animals have to move. Sometimes this is not possible due to obstacles like roads or landscapes. So ecological corridors can help them move. They allow nature to adapt to climate change.”Mr. Berto explains.

In the course of its development Real estate is very present, changes Climatic conditions will have more serious consequences if the species’ habitat is fragmented. So ecological corridors can help connect habitats.

According to Marie-Lyne Després-Einspenner, ecosystems tend to be more resilient when maintained in continuous areas or connected by natural corridors.

When the population of a species is concentrated in one place, and there is no exchange with other environments, the gene pool becomes limited. Thus linking habitats together increases genetic diversity.

Engaging cities

The MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut is currently developing its wetland conservation plan for its entire territory.

We have integrated and interconnected environmental corridors in this plan. […] For example, we want to connect public lands that are already protected with wetlands, which can serve as a refuge. It’s a new way to see our lands.”Explains Joel Padercher, director of the Department of Environment and Land Use Planning at the MRC.

Often times, habitat degradation occurs faster than memorizing, This is a problem. »Dominic Berto, professor and researcher in biodiversity

At the same time, the MRC is also working on its new development plan. “It’s on point”, says Badercher. According to him, the protection of natural lands also has its advantages for the population, as it can be used for recreational tourism activities.

In particular, the MRC wants to encourage more intensive development near existing roads. “The also good thing is that larger plots of land are encouraged for new construction. Some cities have already put in place guidelines on this”Badacher adds.

Later this year, Éco-corridors laurenHere you will launch “Environmentally Connected Municipalities”And Certificate program for municipalities in the region.

Citizens play a major role

Some citizens of the region even resort to ecological corridors to protect part of their land, with the aim of leaving a legacy for future generations. The organization helps those interested in rather complex procedures.

Dennis Beach, a resident of the Laurentians, worked with his family to donate land in Lake Nantel in Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré (Mont-Blanc). They are also in the process of donating two easements in the same area. “People were developing with their land, but we weren’t interested”says Mr. Piché. “Facilities make it possible to protect the Earth forever.”

“We decided to preserve and protect this land, not for us, but for future generations.”, refers to Mr. Piché. Thus, walking will be the only activity allowed on these lands, even for future owners.

Marie-Lynn Depress-Inspinner is pleased with this donation, because the land is located in one of the trails to Mont-Tremblant National Park. She explained that they are in the oceanic zone, and therefore help in strengthening the garden’s buffer zone.

In addition, the MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut recently conducted a survey of more than 800 landlords. Of the 22% who responded, more than half expressed an interest in protecting their land. “It’s a nice surprise. People want to be involved in conservation”says Joel Badercher.

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