The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) manages and protects Ontario’s natural resources. MNR is directly responsible for managing Crown land. About 13% of the land in Ontario, mostly in the southern part of the province, is privately owned. The Ministry works closely with partners to conserve and protect provincially significant natural features on private land through a variety of initiatives, including land securement.
Land securement includes purchasing lands, acquiring the title to lands through donation or holding conservation easements and agreements.
A conservation easement describes an agreement between a landowner and a conservation group that restricts or prevents certain types of land uses, in order to protect the natural heritage features of the property. The owner still retains ownership of the land.
The Ministry’s land securement activities typically fall under the following categories:
MNR’s land securement activities contribute to ministry commitments identified in Our Sustainable Future such as conserving Ontario’s biodiversity and promoting stewardship, partnerships and community involvement. The Ministry’s land securement activities also helps protect and restore Species at Risk (SAR) habitat through its support of SAR related acquisition and habitat enhancement activities. The Ministry’s land securement program also supports property securement and ecological protection of the Niagara Escarpment by helping to secure the Bruce Trail and the Niagara Escarpment Parks and Open Space System.
Current Land Securement Initiatives:
MNR works with a number of valued partners to deliver these initiatives, including the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and the Ontario Land Trust Alliance. These partners also contribute science and land management expertise during the process of identifying priority areas, negotiating land purchase and ensuring long term conservation.
Land Securement Opportunities
Over time, MNR and its partners have developed strategic plans to guide securement decisions. MNR and the Nature Conservancy of Canada developed the Great Lakes Conservation Blueprint for Terrestrial and Aquatic Biodiversity, which identifies high quality natural areas in the Great Lakes region. The Blueprint includes suggestions for strategic land securement priorities, based on a variety of ecological criteria.
Combined with provincial level land use planning initiatives such as the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, the Greenbelt Plan, and the Niagara Escarpment Plan, there is a building portfolio of priority areas in Ontario. Most of these initiatives are focused in southern Ontario because of the significant amount of private lands and level of threat to natural features. Land securement activities are also occurring in northern Ontario to expand protected areas and conserve significant ecological features and communities.