Can Alberta’s Municipalities Address Biodiversity Conservation Challenges?

Opportunities & challenges

Globally, biodiversity is in crisis.

Environmental pollution, climate change, habitat loss, and many other anthropogenic threats jeopardize both species and ecologically significant spaces.

Rising to the challenge of contemporary biodiversity conservation requires action at all levels of regulatory authority: international, national, and sub-national.

In partnership with Dr. Cam Jefferies at the Faculty of Law, we recently released Subsidiarity in Action: Effective Biodiversity Conservation and Municipal Innovation. 

This study explores amendments to the Municipal Government Act that enable, and in fact require, Alberta’s municipalities to enhance environmental protection efforts within their boundaries.

The report finds that while municipalities are taking steps to maintain or increase biodiversity conservation, financial and social constraints prevent the use of available conservation tools.

Municipalities in Alberta recognize the importance of biodiversity

Great strides have been made at the municipal level to increase habitat connectivity.

A prime example is the inclusion of wildlife corridors in Edmonton’s transportation developments, linking habitats that could have been separated by roads and bridges.

However, these projects often require innovations in funding, citizen engagement, and regional environmental coordination.

Our study stresses the need to augment current municipal conservation efforts to harness new statutory powers, capitalize on local knowledge and initiative, and enhance citizen education and engagement.

Download the full report here

Municipal leaders can attend a 1-day course to learn more

As part of the project, a 1-day course will be offered through the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus in May. Learn more about the course 


This project was made possible by a grant from the Alberta Real Estate Foundation.