Prioritizing ecological restoration of converted lands in Canada by spatially integrating organic carbon storage and biodiversity benefits

Date

2023

Authors

Currie, Jessica
Merritt, Will
Liang, Chris
Sothe, Camile
Beatty, Craig R.
Shackelford, Nancy
Hirsh-Pearson, Kristen

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Conservation Science and Practice,

Abstract

Ecosystem restoration is a fundamental way of delivering nature-based solutions to improve resilience in a changing climate and sustain biodiversity. Spatial analyses to identify where ecosystem restoration would yield targeted environmental benefits are critical to inform, and coordinate restoration initiatives at multiple scales to achieve national commitments and global goals. Here, we provide an optimization analysis for restoration potential of converted terrestrial ecosystems in Canada by integrating carbon storage and biodiversity benefits as key considerations. Our results show that converted landscapes are prevalent in southern anthropic regions of Canada, with the greatest potential for biodiversity benefits through forest and grassland restoration. At national scales, carbon density (tonnes C/km2) and total carbon storage (tonnes C) potential were greatest for wetland and forest restoration, respectively. When biodiversity and carbon were both included in an optimization framework, consistent priorities across all three restoration targets (50,000; 100,000; and 150,000 km2) comprised forest restoration in the St. Lawrence and Lake Erie Lowlands, with the Lake Manitoba Plains, Interlake Plains, and Manitoulin-Lake Simcoe ecoregions also frequently identified. Our analysis will help decision-makers identify where restoration of converted lands may support considerable gains in simultaneously achieving climate and biodiversity goals in Canada.

Description

Keywords

biodiversity, Canada, carbon storage, ecosystem restoration, human footprint, landcover, machine learning, nature-based solutions, spatial prioritization

Citation

Currie, J., Merritt, W., Liang, C., Sothe, C., Beatty, C. R., Shackelford, N., Hirsh-Pearson, K., Gonsamo, A., & Snider, J. (2023). Prioritizing ecological restoration of converted lands in Canada by spatially integrating organic carbon storage and biodiversity benefits. Conservation Science and Practice, 5(6), e12924. https://doi.org/10.1111/csp2.12924