Why We Exist
Our society relies on the services that nature provides. Vegetation helps to filter our water, making sure our families have clean water to drink. Trees sequester carbon, reducing the effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Wetlands protect our homes and businesses from the devastating effects of floods. Natural areas provide habitat for the wildlife we love to watch. These benefits produced by nature and enjoyed by humans are called “ecosystem services.”
As our populations grow and our society develops, our needs from nature grow. At the same time, nature’s ability to provide those services is shrinking under the pressures of development.
Farmers and ranchers have an incredible solution right in front of us. With a Canadian landbase of 167 million acres, the unique skillset to produce things from the land, and often sharing a deeply-rooted stewardship ethic, farmers and ranchers are the perfect allies to integrate environmental stewardship onto the working landscape.
By working with farmers and ranchers, we can move beyond conservation to the active production of more ecosystem services — all of the good things that nature provides which benefit society.
ALUS Canada’s unique Partnership Advisory Committee gives the program a community-developed base, allowing the program to easily adopt to local priorities and community needs.
ALUS projects are farmer-delivered. With the farmer in the driver’s seat, he or she can identify areas of the farm which are marginal for traditional agricultural production. Often, marginal lands are too wet for cultivation, difficult to access with equipment, or they are particularly environmentally-sensitive. ALUS provides support for alternative land use of marginal or environmentally sensitive lands: the production of ecosystem services. These projects can take a lot of work to set up and more work to maintain, time and energy which farmers and ranchers historically have bourne while society reaps the benefits of their efforts. ALUS helps to remove the barriers to implementing projects which will increase ecosystem services while rewarding the farmer or rancher for the work they’re doing to maintain projects on behalf of society.
ALUS leverages the benefits of an on-site manager (the farmer) to manage the projects. The farmer controls competition for new seedlings, monitors for and controls invasive species, and any other management the project requires.