ALUS Alliance – Alternative Land Use Services in Ontario

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Author: Lauren Baker

Posted: April 5, 2009

Categories: News from Sustain Ontario

0708_5203The Ontario ALUS Alliance was launched in Guelph on Friday, March 27. A room full of farmers, local food advocates, environmentalists and interested community members proved that many people see the benefits of rewarding farmers for the ecological goods and services they provide to our society.

Images of salamanders, Oak Savannah, native grasses, restored wetlands, Texas Longhorn Cattle and working farms provided beautiful visuals of how the farm community is building upon its deep-rooted stewardship ethic.

$3,487. That is the estimated value PER HECTARE per year of ecological services provided by Ontario’s natural capital: wildlife habitat, water filtration zones, carbon sinks, woodlands, grasslands and wetlands. Much of this natural capital is found on Ontario farms. ALUS represents a way to engage farmers and provide incentive payments for the valuable ecological goods and services they provide.

A landmark report, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development stresses the importance of ALUS-type programs for the future sustainability of farming systems and the environment – multifunctionality. “The concept of multifunctionality recognizes agriculture as a multi-output activity, producing not only commodities (food, feed, fibres, biofuels, medicinal products and ornamentals), but also non-commodity outputs such as environmental services, landscape amenities and cultural heritage.”

Find out more about the Ontario ALUS Alliance by contacting Kristen Thompson, ALUS Project Coordinator: