Atypical conservation – it’s the outcomes that matter!

In the Shilo landscape, military training exercises have proven to mimic some of the natural history of the area - recreating now-rare habitat. This controlled activity is creating positive in-situ biodiversity outcomes.


The high-intensity, short-duration disturbances created by military training activities create habitat conditions no longer found in the larger landscape. These disturbances include prescribed burns and artillery practice, which enhance biodiversity by preventing tree encroachment on areas of mixed-grass prairie and mimicking historical disturbance regimes such as wildfire or bison activity.


In addition, for security and safety reasons, the Department of National Defence prohibits unauthorized access. Closure to the public restricts activity on the site, eliminating many activities that could have a negative impact on biodiversity.


The primary mandate of Canadian Forces Base Shilo is to provide a space for military training. This mandate takes priority in a case of conflict with conservation objectives, although measures are taken to mitigate possible impacts on biodiversity.

Sustainable management practices: Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces put a high priority on environmental stewardship. These measures help achieve the Department’s environmental and energy goals.

Many conservation tools are available beyond legislation and policy that specifically target biodiversity conservation.


Positive impacts on biodiversity from indirect conservation strategies are not always apparent. It is important to look at a site from a broad lens; considering the biodiversity outcomes at the site and whether management practices are such that conservation will be maintained over the long term.