By Manon Dubois
The Greater Montreal area is home to Quebec's richest biodiversity, best agricultural land and half its population — but it's also home to half its endangered species. And urban sprawl in the region over the past 40 years has led to the loss of a third of Quebec's wetlands, woods and agricultural land.
To combat this phenomenon and to help citizens enjoy the natural environment of the region, the David Suzuki Foundation launched a greenbelt campaign in the Greater Montreal area in 2011. The campaign led to recognition of the Montreal Greenbelt by the Metropolitan Community of Montreal the same year, with investments of $150 million from the Quebec government.
The Foundation also founded the Mouvement Ceinture Verte (Greenbelt Coalition), a group dedicated to protecting natural habitat in the Greater Montreal area, and published two scientific studies on the greenbelt. The first report calculated the value of services provided by the region's natural environment at more than $4 billion a year.
The Foundation has also created an educational map of the greenbelt area, a citizen's toolkit to help protect our natural habitat, and an interactive map of habitat and the advocacy groups working to protect it. We are now working toward obtaining official recognition of the Montreal Greenbelt by the Quebec government, and we're planning a campaign to plant trees to help celebrate the 375th anniversary of Montreal in 2017.