Nikita (Nik) Lopoukhine

Nik started his professional career with the Forestry Canada in 1968 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.

In the 1980s, Nik was recruited by Parks Canada and initiated their fire management program that insures healthy ecosystems in the national parks. In the 1990s, Nik served as the Chair of the International Society for Ecological Restoration. Nik also played an important role through the World Bank in helping Russia develop their protected areas program.

Nik served as the first Executive Director of the Ecological Integrity Branch. In 2001, Nik became the Director General of National Parks. He was responsible for establishing new parks and marine conservation areas as well as establishing the ecological integrity monitoring program and implementing the Species at Risk Act. He earned a reputation as a champion of conservation.

In 2004, at the 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 its principal advisor on the Program 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 and connecting people to nature. He has stepped down from this role in 2012 and now serves on the board of the Wildlands Network and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Geographic Society.

In Feb 2012, Nik was honoured with the J.B. Harkin Award 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. As well in 2013, Nik was awarded a “Golden Leaf” by the Canadian Council for Ecological Areas in recognition for his contributions to conservation.

He recently served as an advisor to the Auditor General of Canada on the review of the Ecological Integrity Programme and wrote a commissioned report on the state of Marine Protected Areas for the Senate of Canada.

In his spare time, Nik has served since 1987as the Treasurer of the Archdiocese of Canada, Orthodox Church in America.