Highlights of Current Biodiversity Conservation Initiatives
While it is clear that the measures taken to conserve biodiversity in BC over the past 15 years are no longer adequate to deal with growing pressures including climate change, we benefit today from the foresight behind these actions, which has helped to mitigate some of the pressures and retain more options for a new, coordinated and prioritized approach to biodiversity conservation planning.
The provincial government has undertaken several initiatives aimed at conserving biodiversity - many of which date back to the early 1990s. Earlier measures include creating new parks and protected areas, completing strategic land use plans for 85 percent of the province, establishing old growth management areas, designating Identified Wildlife Management Areas to manage species at risk, biodiversity provisions under the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory Project and the formation of the BC Conservation Data Centre, among others. More recent initiatives include the Mountain Pine Beetle Action Plan, Forests for Tomorrow, Climate Change Action Plan, Future Forests Ecosystems Initiative, Invasive Alien Species Framework for BC, Conservation Framework, State of British Columbia's Forests, and BC's Coastal Environment Report.
The federal government has developed a variety of initiatives to maintain a healthy environment by conserving ecosystems and preventing loss of species and genetic diversity. Environment Canada's mandate is to preserve and enhance the quality of the natural environment; conserve Canada's renewable resources; conserve and protect Canada's water resources; forecast weather and environmental change; enforce rules relating to boundary waters; and coordinate environmental policies and programs for the federal government.
Biodiversity provides an important cultural connection for First Nations in British Columbia. It sustains wildlife and plant communities that provide traditional food sources, medicines, and resource materials. It also provides the setting for ceremonial practices. First Nations have been engaged in a variety of initiatives to help conserve biodiversity in their home territories. Examples include the establishment of a First Nations Forestry Council to serve forestry needs for First Nations communities and to ensure that First Nations are active and informed participants in government-to-government land use planning processes.
Many local and regional governments have also taken steps to account for the importance of biodiversity protection in their planning and zoning processes.
Click here for Highlights of Government Biodiversity Conservation Measures.
Individuals can also play an important role in conserving biodiversity, including for example those who have placed conservation covenants on their private property in order to preserve natural values for future generations.