B.C.'s Biodiversity at Risk (module 1, p. 5)

Biodiversity in BC is threatened because not all species can adapt to the unnatural pressures of:

  • Invasion by exotic plants and animals (broom, gorse, & starlings)
  • Urban development
  • Resource development (forestry, mining, grazing, or hydro)
  • Pollution
  • Loss or fragmentation, and unnatural changes (fire prevention) of habitat

There are 95 endangered or threatened (red listed) wildlife and freshwater fish species, and 96 sensitive or vulnerable (blue listed) species in our province.

We do not understand how resilient ecosystems may be to losses or change in biodiversity. Franklin et al. (1989) notes that biodiversity gives ecosystems resiliency, or capabilities to adapt to and withstand change in the environment without significant loss in ecosystem functions. Such changes may result from factors changes such as pollution, climatic change, diseases, and natural disturbances.

How do you think biodiversity can be preserved here in BC?

Scientists are still discovering new species. Without a a complete inventory of all species, we are unlikely to know the impact of current or future forest management practices on biodiversity or to understand of the importance of each species to ecosystem function.

We do know that extinction is forever. To prevent species from becoming extinct requires careful management to provide sufficient habitat so that native species can survive in the midst of our forest resource use.

The concern for biodiversity became international in focus, with the United Nations' Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and continues to this day. At that Earth summit, Canada signed a treaty calling for international cooperation to halt the continued threat to plant and animal extinction.

How can we manage biodiversity?

Maintaining biodiversity should involve actions at both the landscape level (usually .5000 ha) and the stand level (usually <100 ha). The two levels are related and interdependent so biodiversity needs to be considered in broad regional-level plans through to pre-harvest silviculture prescriptions.