PanCanadian Parks and Protected Areas
Research Network

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Establishing a Pan-Canadian Research Network for Parks & Protected Areas

Parks Canada is a founding partner of the Parks and Protected Areas Research Network

Whether natural or social science, local or Indigenous knowledge, or integrated research, effective park leadership requires the best available evidence–and an understanding of how to use it. Parks Canada Agency and the Mount Royal University Institute for Environmental Sustainability–as well as affiliated academic institutions–aim to bridge the gap between researchers and practitioners in parks and protected areas by establishing a pan-Canadian reseach network. Our activities include:

Connecting researchers and practitioners, focusing on landscape-level and existing networks.

Sharing existing knowledge by curating and presenting inter/transdisciplinary research in inclusive ways, highlighting practitioners and identifying mutually beneficial research.

Supporting academics, practitioners, journalists, elected officials, and decision makers in understanding and applying evidence in parks and protected areas.

Building an intergenerational, interdisciplinary, inter-industry, and intercultural conversation about the value of parks and protected areas research.

These activities are informed by the collaborative knowledge mobilization research project and a pre-conference workshop at the 2019 Canadian Parks Conference. The final workshop report is available here in French and English.

By extending established relationships and creating new connections, this project created a multidisciplinary, inter-institutional, cross-sectoral partnership to mobilize parks-relevant knowledge. While social science, Indigenous and local knowledge are a focus of this project, we acknowledge the inter-connectedness of other forms of knowledge and the necessary engagement with them to resolve complex parks-related challenges and decisions.

Research Network Platform

The Canadian Parks Collective Parks and Protected Areas Research Network was created as a knowledge exchange and dissemination network, as part of an outcome of a collaborative knowledge mobilization research project and a pre-conference workshop at the 2019 Canadian Parks Conference. This platform is intended to facilitate interaction between individuals, organizations, and governments dedicated to the advancement of effective park management and related desired outcomes such as increased social equity, biodiversity conservation, multi-stakeholder governance, and healthy communities through access to diverse sources of knowledge.

Annual Research eSummit

Know. Do. Learn.

The Research Network hosts an annual virtual summit (“eSummit”) to bring together Knowers (scholars/knowledge keepers), Doers (practitioners), and Learners (students, new hires) to share knowledge and build a network across the parks and protected areas field.  

This event combines online collaboration with activities to connect with nature wherever you are, as well as opportunities to network with colleagues both near and far. The Research eSummit also includes a pre- and post-session regional challenge workshop in your own time zone and a year-long monthly webinar series. All sessions are offered with simultaneous French/English interpretation.

Legacy Pages

View previous years’ presentation recordings, abstracts, eMedia (posters), presenter information, and more!

Research Projects

Parks and Knowledge Mobilization Project

Funded by a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant and led by University of Alberta, this project aims at improving understanding of how different kinds of knowledge, including natural and social sciences, as well as Indigenous and local knowledge, are valued and used to advance protected and conserved area management, planning and policy making. The focus is on knowledge mobilization or “moving knowledge into active service” (SSHRC, 2008). In other words, making research accessible, so that it can be put into practice.

Through a pan-Canadian survey and case studies from across Canada, this research project explores how Canada’s conservation agencies are using “knowledge” to meet national and international commitments.

Horizon Scan Research Priorities Project

Park and protected areas managers need knowledge of the challenges and opportunities that may influence the stewardship and conservation of protected areas as they make decisions for the future. One methodology that is often used to identify knowledge gaps and emerging issues is the horizon scan.

Parks Canada and the Canadian Parks Collective for Innovation and Leadership teamed up to undertake a horizon scan to inform the management of protected areas in Canada. This scan was conducted in close collaboration with partners, so that results obtained benefit all and support conservation planning and actions across the country. Parks Canada will use the results of the horizon scan to inform its own research agenda.

Conservation Through Reconciliation (External)

Conservation through Reconciliation logo -- Photo courtesy of

CPPCL is a co-applicant on the Conservation Through Reconciliation Partnership, a seven-year initiative that is funded by SSHRC that aims to critically investigate the state of conservation practice in Canada and support efforts to advance Indigenous-led conservation in the spirit of reconciliation and decolonization. The project is establishing a Canada-wide network to catalyze communication, coordination and reciprocal knowledge sharing amongst diverse partners, including Indigenous communities and environmental organizations working to support Indigenous-led conservation.

The role of CPCIL focuses on knowledge mobilization incorporating Indigenous perspectives in existing parks,  and leadership development in ethical space.

ParkSeek Public Health Impacts Project (External)

The overarching goal of the ParkSeek project is to build a platform for Canadian-specific research and practice related to the interconnections between population health and parks and recreational facilities. These spaces and places are critical elements of the built and natural environment known to support health and wellbeing. Using these tools, changes can be observed in the built and natural environment features, population-level perceptions, and public use of parks and recreational facilities over time.

Park Research Resources

Annual Reference Lists

Annual lists of published, peer-reviewed articles related to parks and protected areas in Canada.


Reference List 2018
Reference List 2017
Reference List 2016

Reference List 2015

Other Related Research Networks

Beyond CPPCL, there are several noteworthy research networks conducting studies, initiating conversation and tackling projects related to themes such as conservation, science, diversity, inclusion and accessibility in parks. We believe their work provides ample opportunities for park leaders, researchers and academics to expand their knowledge and improve management practices in parks. 

Grow the Research Network

Help us grow the Parks Research Network by creating a profile for you in the PanCanadian Parks and Protected Areas Research Network. You may provide information informally or in bullet-form, and where possible we encourage you to provide links to existing content that will help create an understanding of your work. Student Assistants will compile your responses into a profile and will share a preview prior to posting.

This project is supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.