Nik started his professional career with the Forest Management Institute and later moved to the Lands Directorate of Environment Canada. He took a leading role in bringing broad ecological thinking to the Government of Canada in the developing field of land mapping of ecosystems. Nik was behind the creation of ecological maps for some of Canada’s most noted parks, including mapping the vegetation of Gatineau Park.

In the 1980s, Nik was recruited by Parks Canada and initiated their fire management programme that ensures healthy ecosystems in the national parks. Nik also played an important role in helping Russia develop their protected areas programme.

In 2001, Nik became the Director General of National Parks. He was responsible for monitoring the ecological integrity programme and the Species at Risk Act, and earned a reputation as a champion of conservation.

Since the 2005 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Bangkok, Nik was elected Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA). During his time as Chair, IUCN WCPA has influenced the CBD by becoming their principal advisor on the Programme of Work on Protected Areas. Nik has promoted the importance of youth and has supported efforts to ensure that there is increased awareness and understanding of the value and role of protected areas in meeting such global challenges as combating climate change and desertification.

In Feb 2012, Nik was honored with the J.B. Harkin Award yesterday for his life-long commitment to Canadian conservation. The award, named after the “Father of National Parks” J.B. Harkin, honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the conservation of Canada’s parks and wilderness. More recently, Nik was awarded the Gold Leaf Award by the Canadian Council for Ecological Areas and a medal from the Brandwein Institute for his life-long work in conservation.


Break-out Session 1: Planning for Change – Values & Protected Areas

Tuesday, February 16, 2016.   11:00 - 12:30

Optional Workshop: The Conservation Economy Potential in Canada’s North – an Exploratory Panel Discussion

Thursday, February 18, 2016. 9:00 - 12:00

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