Conservation Network Planning



Biological diversity, commonly abbreviated to biodiversity, means the full variety of plants, animals and other living things in a particular area. A variety of genetically diverse species interact to form productive interdependent food webs, known as ecosystems.

Conservation areas

Conservation areas provide complimentary but less restrictive protection than protected areas. They do not guarantee management and monitoring. They allow species to move between protected areas.

Conservation network

A conservation network includes protected areas and conservation areas at various sizes that collectively contribute to ecological, economic and social stability more effectively than individual sites could alone. A conservation network ensures the landscape is connected and provides corridors and reproductive areas for wildlife, aiding species migration and adaptation. As human-caused disturbances increase, intact areas become even more important.

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 – Indigenous governments and organizations, 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 of a conservation network and have the highest level of protection, with no industrial development allowed. Protected areas are permanent, and jointly managed and monitored.