Participate in the creation of model interventions for the conservation of biodiversity in the agricultural setting

Context and project description

This is another broad project: make an entire region a model of best practices regarding agriculture and environmental protection. There are many agricultural practices that are recognized as being beneficial to water quality, plants and wildlife. These include installing wide and diverse riparian strips, creating green corridors, reducing the spreading of chemicals on the edges of wooded areas (buffer zones), retaining dead trees, abstaining from harvesting ley crops during the nesting of field birds and agroforestry activities.

This project involves not only promoting, but also carrying out such model interventions in an area of the south shore of Lake Saint-Pierre that is characterized by the large-scale cultivation of annuals (corn and soya) that could affect wildlife and their habitats. Note that this area is part of the Lac Saint-Pierre International Biosphere Reserve. An attempt will then be made to export the process to other agricultural regions where the conservation of biodiversity and the protection of species at risk are priorities.

There will be many results. First, for farmers: involved in the process, both in awareness activities and the possibility of direct participation, farmers will gain experience and knowledge that will be useful to them later. Awareness and involvement will also extend to a range of other stakeholders in the area. Then, priority habitats for perch and several other threatened species will benefit directly, and the water quality will be improved throughout the Lake Saint-Pierre watershed (less non-point source pollution). Wildlife will be monitored on a regular basis to assess the progress achieved. Finally, over the long term, all agricultural areas can draw from this process and adapt it to their needs.

Results

Habitat restoration work has been completed in 2012 in the Baie-du-Febvre area on the south shore of Lake Saint-Pierre where 1) bank reshaping and tree and shrub plantation have occurred along streams in two sectors (Côté-Lefebvre/Brielle, Blondin), and 2) an agroforestry plot was implemented at Ferme Bertco where rows of trees of high-value species (oak, maple, walnut) were planted in traditional crop fields (alfalfa, grains). Bird and anuran (frogs) surveys were conducted in spring 2012 to obtain an overview of the wildlife communities present PRIOR TO the habitat management work was carried out. The diversity of these wildlife groups was low because survey sites were located in areas primarily bordered by annual row crop fields. Indeed, frogs and birds were more abundant in wooded habitats adjacent to restored sites. Because we expect that trees and shrubs planted along streams and in the cultivated field will offer high-quality habitat for multiple species in the years to come, we plan to conduct similar surveys in the future (after 5 to 10 years) to determine whether the birds and anurans have responded positively to these habitat management works. These restored habitats should benefit local wildlife populations in this agricultural landscape while improving water quality and landscape value. It is to be hoped that these initiatives will be emulated in other parts of the agricultural plain of Lac Saint-Pierre and southern Quebec to help maintain and increase a healthy regional biodiversity.

View the fact sheet Wildlife habitat restoration in the Baie-du-Febvre region: Use by birds and anurans prior to management (PDF/HTML).

Participating departments

Government of Canada

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Government of Quebec

  • Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation
  • Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs