Published on May 13, 2020
James Stinson, Postdoctoral Fellow in Planetary Health & Education, co-published Coronavirus closures could lead to a radical revolution in conservation in The Conversation Canada on 10 May 2020.
The Conversation Canada is an independent source of news and views, from the academic and research community, delivered direct to the public.
Coronavirus closures could lead to a radical revolution in conservation
May 10, 2020
James Stinson, Postdoctoral Fellow in Planetary Health & Education
Elizabeth Lunstrum, Associate Professor, School of Public Service, Boise State University
But critics have argued that Parks Canada’s renewed focus on boosting attendance has come at the expense of ecological integrity. From 2005-15, spending on conservation dropped to $99 million from $161 million, just 13 per cent of Parks Canada’s budget. At the same time, funding for “visitor experience” increased to $204 million from $163 million.
A recent evaluation of Canadian parks showed a significant increase in rule violations, with a strong correlation to the number of visitors at a site. Moreover, a 2016 State of the Parks Report found that 46 per cent of national park ecosystems in Canada were in just fair or poor condition. While this was a slight improvement from 2011, indicators in the monitoring program were cut by 28 per cent, raising questions about the scientific rigor of the reporting system.
When COVID-19 lockdowns were instituted, commentators encouraged people to seek out the health benefits of parks and natural areas. As parks saw a surge in visitors, these spaces were transformed from sites of health promotion to public health threats, leading to widespread closures across North America.
Read the full article here: https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-closures-could-lead-to-a-radical-revolution-in-conservation-137050
James Stinson, Postdoctoral Fellow, Planetary Health & Education