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About: Welcome

We are the Centre for Applied Science in Ontario Protected Areas (CASIOPA). CASIOPA, through the University of Waterloo, is a consortium of government, academic, indigenous communities, conservation and environmental non-government organizations, research organizations and professionals who are dedicated to research, shared knowledge, and applied science in Ontario’s protected areas.

We promote science and evidence based policy, planning and management of Ontario’s protected areas. We provide collaboration and networking opportunities by hosting an annual conference and other events.

CASIOPA’s focus is on science in a broad sense – natural, physical, and social. In includes the synthesis, analysis, and presentation of current research.

CASIOPA provides an opportunity for professionals and students to come together to present new research, share new ideas, and provide a platform for collaboration. We encourage researchers and protected area practitioners to implement their work and then return to CASIOPA meetings to report on their results and actions, and receive feedback from colleagues.

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Protected Area

A clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values (IUCN Definition 2008). Protected Areas can support a variety of uses but must have the in-situ conservation of biodiversity as the primary objective. Protected areas may be under different governance types, including governance by government (at various levels), by private individuals and organizations, by Indigenous peoples and/or local communities, and those under shared governance.

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Our History

Our history began with the Parks Research Forum of Ontario in 1996. The Parks Research Forum was established in response to a need for scientific information and approaches to support the understanding and planning of parks and protected areas. 

The forum was developed as an effective means of sharing research and information. An annual meeting would be a means to report upon and learn of new research. A research directory and email network were established to connect and inspire collaboration. This early model of shared knowledge has been since emulated in three provinces.

As the Parks Research Forum progressed, it began to focus its effort and resources on publishing proceedings for the forum which may be found in our Publications archives.

By 2009, there was more interest and incentive to promote real-time learning and research applications. CASIOPA was created and shifted the focus to more active research, applications of research, workshops and an annual conference.

The Inspiring Collective

The Parks Research Forum of Ontario was established by a committed collective of academics and conservationists. Gordon Nelson, a retired academic from the University of Waterloo founded the Forum with support from:

  • John Marsh (Trent University)

  • Tom Beechey (Canadian Council of Ecological Areas)

  • Bill Stephenson (Parks Canada)

The collective grew and was supported by a Steering Committee that created an inspiring and progressive platform for parks and protected areas research:

  • Bob Davidson (Ontario Parks)

  • Paul Zorn (Parks Canada)
    Brian Hutchinson (Parks Canada)

  • Tom Nudds (University of Guelph)

  • Brian Craig (Parks Canada)

  • Bill Crins (Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry)

We would like to play tribute to Michael Troughton from Western University. Michael has passed away and is deeply missed by his friends and colleagues at the CASIOPA and the PRFO.

The collective was supported by then-students Ken van Osch, Stephanie Janetos, Chris Lemieux and Jim Porter.

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Website Policy

Statement of ethics and integrity of use of materials on this website

We strive to ensure that the information posted on the CASIOPA website and/or twitter feed accurately represent contributor content.

We endeavour to receive contribution permission and identify authorship for publications, presentations, and images. Visitors will note that CASIOPA presentation notes are often verbatim or close summaries from presenter slides. Presentation notes are used with permission from the contributor. Conference and/or workshop images taken by CASIOPA staff may be posted. It should be noted that it may be difficult to obtain conference attendee permission.

Please inform the Chair, Stephen Murphy, of any content or authorship corrections (stephen.murphy[at] We will make the correction or removal as soon as proof of ownership is established.

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