Defining Priorities and Taking Action
British Columbians have long recognized the relationship between our own health and well-being and the health of the environment around us. B.C. has been a leader with land use planning, the protected areas strategy and related initiatives. Now, issues such as climate change are bringing this crucial relationship into sharper focus. Biodiversity B.C. will use the findings from its science foundation- Taking Nature's Pulse-to identify priorities for biodiversity conservation and to build on the strength of actions already taken by industry, governments, communities and the public to conserve and protect the well-being of humans and nature for the future.
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 action plan. These discussions led to a framework [PDF 72KB],
which defined the key
components of the biodiversity strategy and the process for gathering input.
In April 2006, process experts from BC and other jurisdictions where biodiversity strategies have been completed provided advice and feedback on the proposed strategy framework. This advice led to the preparation of a draft vision and goals for discussion with stakeholders and the public and confirmed the need to work closely with First Nations to ensure that the action plan reflects the values and needs of aboriginal people in BC and is informed by traditional ecological knowledge.
Before we can determine where we need to go, we needed to understand where we are now. To provide the science foundation for action, Biodiversity BC prepared two key documents,
Taking Nature's Pulse: The Status of Biodiversity in BC and a report on Ecological Concepts, Principles and Applications to Conservation. These reports are designed to support biodiversity action by providing a primer on biodiversity - clarifying the current status of biodiversity and setting out the concepts and principles of biodiversity conservation and restoration.
Taking Nature's Pulse: The Status of Biodiversity in British Columbia includes:
- Talking about Biodiversity : provides definitions and context for the discussion of biodiversity in British Columbia. What is biodiversity? Why is it important?
- British Columbia 's Natural Legacy : summarizes the current status of species, ecosystems and their functions and processes; identifies areas of global significance and areas of overlap with the marine environment and other jurisdictions; and identifies gaps in our current knowledge about B.C.'s biodiversity.
- Threats to Biodiversity in British Columbia : examines the pressures on biodiversity in British Columbia, and where the gaps are in the "safety net" to protect biodiversity.
- Major Findings : summarizes the key findings and describes how they relate to each other.
Vision and Goals
A Vision for B.C. Biodiversity in the Year 2100
British Columbia is a spectacular place with healthy, natural and diverse ecosystems that sustain and enrich us all.
We believe our vision for the year 2100 is realistic and can be achieved if British Columbians take to heart the 23 findings described Taking Nature's Pulse. That means taking the necessary action in coming years to ensure that a future assessment of the province's biodiversity will see its condition improved, to the economic, social and cultural benefit of all our citizens.
As a first step, realizing the vision we describe means embracing and making a commitment to achieve three goals that flow from the findings of Taking Nature's Pulse.
Goal 1: Conserving the Elements of Biodiversity
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: Increasing 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.
Goal 3: Providing Tools and Incentives to Enable Biodiversity Conservation
To provide tools and incentives to enable governments (including First Nations), industry, conservation organizations and citizens to improve conservation of British Columbia's biodiversity.
By working collaboratively toward the achievement of Biodiversity BC's vision and goals, governments, non-government organizations and citizens can help to ensure that British Columbia continues to be a spectacular place with healthy, natural and diverse ecosystems that sustain and enrich us all.
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.
Implementing Biodiversity Conservation
British Columbia is fortunate to have an abundance of natural diversity. Taking Nature's Pulse: The Status of Biodiversity in British Columbia indicates that the province's biodiversity is globally significant and in comparison to many other places in the world is in relatively good condition, but that without immediate action and careful management it is vulnerable to rapid deterioration, especially in the face of climate change.
The Ministry of Environment will take a lead role in defining priorities and taking action to conserve key elements of biodiversity through its Conservation Framework. The Conservation Framework is a tool for setting conservation priorities and recommended actions for species and ecosystems. The application of the tool includes testing, refining and continuously adapting methods based on performance targets and results. It will also include communication, training and collaboration with all 'sectors' resulting in alignment of conservation actions and investments. The setting of priorities for the Conservation Framework and other provincial initiatives supporting biodiversity conservation will be informed by the major findings in Taking Nature's Pulse.
Biodiversity BC will take a lead role in
building awareness and understanding among British Columbians about the
importance of biodiversity and developing and promoting the use of stewardship
incentives and tools. To achieve this,
Biodiversity BC will work closely with nature-based educators, stewardship and
environmental organizations, First Nations, and industry groups to define
priorities for action.
Increasingly British Columbians are coming to understand the connection between the health of our communities and economy and that of our natural environment. To ensure that our ecosystems continue to provide benefits for all, governments, First Nations, stakeholders and the public will need to work together to ensure that necessary actions are taken to prevent further loss of biodiversity, particularly in the face of climate change.
By working collaboratively on identifying priorities for biodiversity conservation, the provincial government and Biodiversity BC will help to set a path where all British Columbians are able to participate in taking action to conserve our natural heritage.