Oak Hammock Marsh, MB Ducks Unlimited Canada is contributing to innovative climate research focused on bringing Canada closer to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Government of Canada has announced funding for three novel projects as part of the Climate Action and Awareness Fund. In a historic, collaborative undertaking, DUC will share its conservation science and on-the-ground expertise with academics, governments and other conservation agencies to gain a greater understanding of how wetlands can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The research projects we are participating in will go a long way in advancing climate science and technology,” says Mark Gloutney, DUC’s national director of science, education and business planning. “We are pleased to join some of the country’s top scientists as we explore how Canada can, and must, leverage the power of nature to address the climate crisis.”

The Climate Action and Awareness Fund is a federal government investment that will provide up to $206 million over five years to support Canadian-made projects that help to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. Funded projects will strengthen Canada’s science capacity to identify, accelerate and evaluate actions towards achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Of the three projects DUC is participating in, we will be most engaged in a study that measures the ability of wetlands in agricultural landscapes to store carbon. Multiple flux towers will be deployed in freshwater mineral wetlands across Canada. The towers will measure how much carbon and methane are being released from these wetlands and how their management impacts carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions. Findings will contribute to the development of carbon protocols while providing important information to guide the protection, conservation, restoration and management of freshwater wetlands.

“Ever since our organization was established more than 80 years ago, we’ve been partnering with the agricultural community to demonstrate how effective stewardship of farmlands drives economic and environmental gains,” says Pascal Badiou, research scientist with DUC and co-lead on the project.

The project is titled Wetlands as nature-based climate-change solutions: Quantifying carbon-capture potential while building a stronger green economy. DUC is proud to be co-leading the effort with researchers at the University of Toronto Scarborough, along with 10 other supporting partners representing academic, government, non-profit and industry groups.

“There’s an assumption that nature is storing carbon to a certain degree, but we need stronger evidence to truly know how effective these nature-based climate solutions are,” says U of T Scarborough professor Irena Creed, who is the academic lead on the research partnership.

“Frankly, we’re running out of time to be able to act on climate change and we need to be smart about what we do and the types of climate solutions we invest in. I’m proud of this partnership because we are developing a national network that will provide the evidence Canadians need to help inform climate change policy.”

DUC is also contributing science and conservation expertise to two additional projects supported by the Climate Action and Awareness Fund. This includes a study being led by the University of Waterloo to quantify how peatland management can contribute to climate change mitigation as a nature-based solution. For more than 20 years, DUC has been working to conserve peatlands throughout Canada’s boreal region and has much to share—from the creation of effective mapping technology to the development of best management practices for industry to supporting Indigenous-led conservation.

The other is a project, led by the University of Waterloo, aimed at developing climate and water-smart agricultural solutions by creating improved estimates of greenhouse gas emissions across the life cycle of the food system—from production to waste. It builds on DUC’s ongoing efforts to promote soil and water management in ways that increase agricultural productivity and the conservation of natural resources.

“Science has and always will be at the core of DUC’s conservation mission. We look forward to delivering on this important investment and determining the best actions to take in pursuit of a healthy, sustainable future,” says Gloutney.


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