PEI

Some P.E.I. landowners ready to help species at risk, study finds

The majority of Island rural landowners surveyed in a recent study about species at risk said they'd help protect habitat if they could, even without compensation or being compelled to.

Small amount of Crown land on P.E.I. makes protecting habitat challenging

The barn swallow was one of the animals discussed in Carolyn Peach Brown's study. (J.M. Garg/Wikimedia Commons)

The majority of Island rural landowners surveyed in a recent study about species at risk said they'd help protect habitat if they could, even without compensation or being compelled to.

The study by Prof. Carolyn Peach Brown, director of environmental studies at UPEI, found 84 per cent would be willing to change their practices to protect habitat.

That's good news, said Peach Brown, because almost 90 per cent of the land on P.E.I. is privately owned, and that makes habitat protection a challenge.

"There clearly seems to be a conservation ethic that exists among rural landowners," she said.

"I think if the provincial government can collaborate with the landowners in terms of developing programs, it will be able to protect the habitat for species at risk but also take into consideration the concerns of rural landowners."

An initiative to protect bobolinks on P.E.I. has seen some success. (May Haga/State of Canada's Birds)

Species in trouble on the Island include the little brown bat, barn swallows and bobolinks.  Peach Brown interviewed 16 landowners, and surveyed another 88 farmers. She said because of the small sample size you cannot generalize the results to all Island rural landowners, but that it is a good case study. 

She was particularly surprised that only three or four per cent of those surveyed would be looking for compensation to make changes on their land.

Peach Brown is continuing her survey work, targeting farmers under the age of 50 for their feedback in order to increase the diversity of her results and increase the sample size.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Laura Chapin

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