Conservation Network Planning

Glossary - CNP


Biological diversity (commonly abbreviated to biodiversity) means the full variety of life in a given region, including the biological and genetic diversity of plants and animals. 

Conservation areas

Conservation areas protect various natural and cultural values, and contribute to the conservation network by providing complementary, but less restrictive protection than protected areas.

Conservation network

A conservation network includes protected areas and conservation areas at various scales that collectively contribute more effectively to maintaining the integrity of ecosystems and biodiversity, and contributing to ecological, economic and social stability than individual sites could alone.

Protected areas are the backbone of the conservation network as they are ecologically intact and have the highest level of protection, including prohibiting industrial development.

Conservation areas protect various natural and cultural values and contribute to the conservation network by providing complementary but less restrictive protection than protected areas.

Conservation network planning

Conservation network planning, or conservation planning, includes the establishment and management of a conservation network, and also involves the consideration of ecosystem processes and connectivity. In the Northwest Territories (NWT), unlike in other jurisdictions where conservation network planning is concerned with restoring connections and repairing damaged ecosystems, it is most important and feasible to maintain intact ecosystem processes.

To achieve this outcome, the land outside of the conservation network is managed in a manner that supports ecosystem processes and allows for movement of wideranging northern species. As a result, the conservation network does not need to be physically connected to achieve connectivity; instead, it fits within a broader land management framework – for example, multi-region regulatory processes and land use planning.

Ecosystem integrity

Ecosystems have integrity when they have their native components – for example, water, soils, species diversity and abundance, natural processes – intact and they are able to persist into the future.


Responsibility for the management of NWT land is shared among a number of parties – Aboriginal governments, federal and territorial governments, NWT communities, resource management and land use planning boards, private land owners, and regional non-governmental industry and environmental organizations. Roles and responsibilities are defined and guided by legislation and agreements.

Protected areas

Protected areas are the backbone or core of a conservation network as they are ecologically intact and have the highest level of protection, including prohibitions on industrial development. Protected areas are permanent, resilient and are effectively managed and monitored.