FREDERICTON -- Environmental and conservation groups are applauding a commitment from the New Brunswick government to protect 10 per cent of the province's total land mass by 2020.

Energy and Resource Development Minister Mike Holland made the announcement Monday morning at Fundy National Park, saying the federal government's Canada Nature Fund will help New Brunswick reach its target.

Five environmental and conservation organizations -- the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Nature NB and the Nature Trust of New Brunswick -- have issued a joint statement in support.

They say conserving more habitat will protect both native and migratory plants and animals, including species-at-risk, that rely on New Brunswick habitat for their survival.

Currently, the province has the second lowest percentage of total protected land compared to the rest of Canada at 4.6 per cent. Prince Edward Island has the lowest at 3.1 per cent.

Nationally, Canada has made international commitments to protect 17 per cent of its land by 2020.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2019.