Where and How Much? Land Designations that Contribute to Conservation in B.C.

Land designations—spatially defined areas on the landscape that are either purchased or established through legislation—are one of the many tools that contribute to the conservation and management of natural areas in British Columbia. There are many different types of land designations, some that are established by the highest levels of government for the sole purpose of long-term conservation, others that are established locally for multiple short-term reasons, and many other types in between.

The question of ‘how much’ is often asked—and while a simple question, there is no simple answer. To try to shed some light on the topic, Environmental Reporting BC recently published a new State of the Environment indicator that summarizes all of the land designations that contribute to conservation in B.C.

For the purposes of the reporting indicator, the different types of land designations were summarized into three broad groups:

Protected Lands – designations with the primary purpose of the long-term conservation of nature and cultural values, such as parks or protected areas, and lands held by conservation organizations.

Resource Exclusion Areas – designations that fully exclude one or two resource activities—such as mining or forestry—for the purpose of conservation.

Spatially Managed Areas – designations managing or limiting development or a resource activity for the purpose of conservation but where resource activity is still allowed to occur.

The ‘where and how much’ of B.C.’s land designations were summarized for each group at the provincial scale and by various habitat types in B.C.

Land Designation Map

The intent of the land designations indicator is to provide an up-to-date snapshot of land designations in B.C.—for interested readers and as publicly available information on the state of the environment in B.C.

The indicator analysis can also be used by others out there doing research, conservation assessments, land use planning and more. To make it easier to use the work—to recreate or build on the analysis—we have made sure the indicator is built following some key open science principles:

Open Data: The spatial and tabular datasets resulting from the indicator are available in the B.C. Data Catalogue under the Open Government Licence – British Columbia. Also, the source data sets and where to get them are provided in case users want to start the analysis from scratch.

Open Tools: The indicator analyses and data visualizations were built using open source tools, including the programming languages Python and R, PostGIS and RStudio’s R package Shiny.

Open Code: All of the computer code to perform the analyses has been made available under an open licence in GitHub.

The Environmental Reporting BC program shares data & code so others can replicate and evaluate our work, to foster collaboration, and to support other similar initiatives, programs, and partners. We hope that others can use or modify or build on this indicator to suit their needs.
If you have any questions or feedback about the land designations indicator we would love to hear from you.

— the Environmental Reporting BC team
@EnvReportBC on Twitter
@EnvReportBC on GitHub

To learn more about the BC Data Catalogue, please visit:
Data referenced in this article:
Land Designations that Contribute to Conservation – Summary Data