and its initial mission to
develop a biodiversity strategy grew out of the October 2004 announcement of a
new partnership between government and non-government organizations (NGOs)
called the B.C. Trust for Public Lands. The Trust's biodiversity conservation
mandate includes securing and improving the management of private and public
lands as well as developing a comprehensive, science-based biodiversity
strategy for B.C.
Biodiversity BC steering committee
was formed in 2005 to
develop the provincial biodiversity strategy. The committee comprises
representatives of conservation non-government organizations (NGOs) and the
provincial, federal, and local governments. In 2008, Biodiversity BC's mandate changed to focus solely on developing a science foundation for action and to increase public awareness about the importance of biodiversity in British Columbia.
Determining Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation
In the fall of 2005, Biodiversity BC invited leading scientific and planning experts from British Columbia and other jurisdictions to provide advice on building an effective biodiversity strategy. These discussions led to a framework, which defined the key components of the biodiversity strategy and the process for gathering input, and set the timeline for completion.In April 2006, planning experts from B.C. and other jurisdictions where biodiversity strategies have been completed provided advice on the framework for developing a British Columbia biodiversity strategy. This advice helped guide the development of a draft vision and goals. It also confirmed the need to work closely with First Nations to ensure that the strategy reflects the values and needs of aboriginal people in B.C. and is informed by traditional ecological knowledge.
Developing a Science Foundation
Before we can determine where we need to go, we needed to understand where we are now. The process for developing a biodiversity strategy begina with a solid science foundation comprised of three key reports:
- Ecological Concepts, Principles and Applications to Conservation;
- Taking Nature's Pulse: The Status of Biodiversity in British Columbia; and
- Biodiversity Atlas of British Columbia.
Taking Nature's Pulse
examines the condition of the British Columbia's natural
environment and identifies the stresses and threats affecting it. Scientists-both provincial and
international-played an important role in helping to develop the report through
the provision of technical information and peer-reviews of the report as it was
being drafted. The report has four main sections.
- A Primer on Biodiversity : provides background on biodiversity, including its elements, importance and history in B.C.
- British Columbia's Natural Legacy : describes the current status of B.C.'s natural legacy of ecosystem, species and genetic diversity, and key and special elements.
- Threats to Biodiversity in British Columbia : describes the stresses and threats affecting biodiversity in British Columbia.
: provides a synthesis of the status
of biodiversity at the ecosystem, species and genetic scales and the major
stresses and threats to biodiversity in B.C.. The 23 major findings contained in TNP will be
used to inform the development of priorities and actions for conserving
biodiversity in B.C.
A Vision for Biodiversity in British Columbia
Biodiversity BC has developed a vision and goals for biodiversity conservation in British Columbia.
British Columbia is a spectacular place with healthy, natural and diverse ecosystems that sustain and enrich the lives of all.Goals:
To maintain the diversity of genes, species and ecosystems, prevent elements of biodiversity from becoming at risk and contribute to global efforts for biodiversity conservation.
Goal 2: Increase Awareness of the Importance of Biodiversity and Respect for the Natural Environment
To increase awareness and understanding about the importance and value of biodiversity and encourage British Columbians to take action on conserving biodiversity.
To provide tools and incentives to enable governments
(including First Nations), industry, conservation organizations and citizens to
improve conservation of British Columbia's biodiversity.
No one group, organization, company or government alone can do the job of protecting B.C.'s biodiversity. But by working together to meet urgent biodiversity conservation needs, we can find solutions that will provide long-term protection for B.C.'s economic and social well-being as well as our natural legacy.