This case study report was prepared for Environment Canada by the Fur Institute of Canada and the Centre for Environmental Stewardship and Conservation to assist in the Government?s habitat and biodiversity programs.
The report provides a preliminary overview of the economic impact of stewardship, including job creation and contributions to rural economic development in Canada. The terms of reference of the project restricted the authors to developing only three Canadian case studies. These go beyond traditional stewardship metrics (e.g. number of participants; area of habitat created, restored or acquired; and total financial investment) to investigate the economic impact of the stewardship sector related to job retention and creation, cost avoidance and the contribution of volunteers.
The case studies reveal that the economic contribution of stewardship-based conservation activities may be grossly under-valued unless all factors such as ecological goods and services, carbon capture, voluntary contributions and job creation are considered. For example, a financial investment of $11 million in the Ontario Wetland Habitat Fund created a combined economic benefit of almost $100 million over the life of the program. A series of recommendations relating to public policy needs are presented based on this preliminary review.