Vision Of The Ontario Alus Alliance
That the ALUS (Alternative Land Use Services) principles be adopted as a permanent provincial program which engages farmers and their lands to provide environmental benefit for the citizens of Ontario
Purpose of the Ontario ALUS Alliance
- to create awareness of the true value of our natural capital and the ecological goods and services produced on farm lands as part of Ontario's infrastructure and life support system
- to build upon the stewardship ethic of the farm community by providing incentives to farmers for the voluntary production of ecological goods and services under the ALUS principles
- to maintain and enhance the health of rural ecosystems and the environmental, social and economic benefits they provide, understanding they are the foundation of a safe, sustainable, secure food supply system
- to form a new kind of alliance that crosses barriers and develops strength from its diversity by bringing together farmers, environmentalists , advocates and community groups in a positive manner
Explosive growth in Ontario has consumed vast areas of farmland and with it some of Ontario's natural capital, in the form of wildlife habitat, water infiltration zones, carbon sinks, woodlands, grasslands and wetlands and so on. It has been estimated that natural capital provides ecological services valued up to $3,487 per hectare per year to the people of Ontario. Yet, ecological services provided on farmers' lands carries no value in the marketplace and in fact, some services such as at risk species protection, may have a negative value under current regulations. At the same time, the vast majority of land in southern Ontario is owned by farmers, especially in the Carolinian zone where 97% of land is maintained by farmers. If habitat losses are to be countered, and effective action is to be taken on climate change, the farm community must be effectively engaged, and this engagement will require the providing of incentive payments for the provision of ecological goods and services.
The ALUS principles provide for these incentives and will enrol farmers and their lands as providers of ecological goods and services. Innovative green rural economic opportunity can be realized in the future by creating carbon sequestering cover on farmers' lands that provide attendant co-benefits including wildlife habitat and water cleansing. Expanding the list of people who can provide ecological service for Ontario to include farmers, not only helps the environment, but cements Ontario's reputation as the leading source for safe, secure, sustainable local food.