Biodiversity Basics

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A primer on Biological Diversity and its importance.

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Biodiversity Basics

  1. 1. BIODIVERSITY BASICS
  2. 2. What is Biodiversity?
  3. 3. What is Biodiversity? Biological Diversity is the incredible variety of life on Earth - its genes, its species, and its ecosystems.
  4. 4. 3 LEVELS OF BIODIVERSITY
  5. 5. 3 LEVELS OF BIODIVERSITY Genetic Species Ecosystem • genes are the • more than1.7 million • is the combined building blocks species have been physical and bio- of heredity named to date but logical components likely more than 10 of an environment • 1 gene can million exist! • they build slowly, lengthen a life- over millions of span, or create • total # of species in years a race of giants a certain ecosystem is known as • Area counts: large • genetic variation ecosystems are species richness allows adaptation more diverse an to a changing and complex than environment small ones
  6. 6. Genetic diversity is created by interbreeding among different populations. It is vital for disease resistance and species resilience. resilience Genetic diversity is maintained through connections between habitats such as greenways, riparian areas and wildlife corridors.
  7. 7. Habitat Fragmentation Affects Biological Diversity Intact Ecosystem
  8. 8. Habitat Fragmentation Affects Biological Diversity Fragmented Ecosystem Intact Ecosystem
  9. 9. Interior Habitat is Highly Valuable • Many native species need large tracts of interior habitat and completely avoid edge habitat. • Edge habitat greatly increases with increased fragmentation • Many established parks are too small for interior species and some small patches of habitat may contain all edge and no interior
  10. 10. Wildlife Corridors Connect Fragmented Areas Strip of habitat makes it possible for wildlife to travel more safely between “islands” of habitat. Wildlife corridors increase the ecological value of isolated and fragmented habitat.
  11. 11. Riparian vegetation acts as a wildlife corridor, allowing migration of species between fragmented patches of habitat.
  12. 12. BC is the most biodiverse province in Canada BC has 16 different major ecosystem types
  13. 13. In an ecosystem, all of the biological, physical, and chemical components form a complex interacting network of energy flow and materials cycling.
  14. 14. Ecosystem processes regulate global cycles of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, minerals and water essential to the survival of life on earth.
  15. 15. ECOSYSTEMS: Essential for all Life
  16. 16. ECOSYSTEMS: Essential for all Life They Give: • water • food (food webs) • habitat • fuel • soil • construction materials • fiber • medicines • jobs in forestry agriculture, parks fishing and tourism
  17. 17. ECOSYSTEMS: Essential for all Life They Give: They Do: • water • recycle nutrients • food (food webs) • clean the air • habitat • produce oxygen • fuel • purify water • soil • mitigate floods • construction • control erosion materials • detoxify soils • fiber • provide shade • medicines • moderate climate • jobs in forestry • pollination agriculture, parks • convert solar energy fishing and tourism • protect against harmful cosmic rays
  18. 18. ECOSYSTEMS: Essential for all Life They Give: They Do: They Are: • water • recycle nutrients • aesthetically • food (food webs) • clean the air pleasing • habitat • produce oxygen • source of intellect- • fuel • purify water ual stimulation • soil • mitigate floods • a sense of place • construction • control erosion • recreation places materials • detoxify soils • intrinsically valuable • fiber • provide shade • irreplaceable • medicines • moderate climate • jobs in forestry • pollination agriculture, parks • convert solar energy fishing and tourism • protect against harmful cosmic rays
  19. 19. ECOSYSTEM SERVICES We Use NOW - But Pay WHEN?
  20. 20. ECOSYSTEM SERVICES We Use NOW - But Pay WHEN? Are Ecosystem Services FREE?
  21. 21. ECOSYSTEM SERVICES We Use NOW - But Pay WHEN? Are Ecosystem Services FREE? Can we put a COST on nature’s services?
  22. 22. ECOSYSTEM SERVICES We Use NOW - But Pay WHEN? Are Ecosystem Services FREE? Can we put a COST on nature’s services? Could we AFFORD them?
  23. 23. ECOSYSTEM SERVICES We Use NOW - But Pay WHEN? Robert Costanza (professor at University of Maryland) estimated the value of nature’s “free” services to be: $33 trillion /YEAR! In that same year, he estimated the GNP of the earth to be only $18 trillion / year
  24. 24. ECOSYSTEM SERVICES We Use NOW - But Pay WHEN? Our current economic systems do NOT account for the VALUE and USEFULNESS of ecosystems and biodiversity
  25. 25. THREATS TO BIODIVERSITY
  26. 26. THREATS TO BIODIVERSITY • ECOSYSTEM CONVERSION
  27. 27. The conversion of natural ecosystems to human uses is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity
  28. 28. THREATS TO BIODIVERSITY • ECOSYSTEM CONVERSION • ECOSYSTEM FRAGMENTATION
  29. 29. Fragmentation converts intact ecosystems to patches of isolated habitat
  30. 30. THREATS TO BIODIVERSITY • ECOSYSTEM CONVERSION • ECOSYSTEM FRAGMENTATION • INTRODUCED SPECIES
  31. 31. Introduced Species can displace native species or out-compete them for food and habitat
  32. 32. THREATS TO BIODIVERSITY • ECOSYSTEM CONVERSION • ECOSYSTEM FRAGMENTATION • INTRODUCED SPECIES • CONTAMINATION/POLLUTION
  33. 33. THREATS TO BIODIVERSITY • ECOSYSTEM CONVERSION • ECOSYSTEM FRAGMENTATION • INTRODUCED SPECIES • CONTAMINATION/POLLUTION • OVER-EXPLOITATION
  34. 34. Wordwide Depletion of Commercial Fisheries
  35. 35. THREATS TO BIODIVERSITY • ECOSYSTEM CONVERSION • ECOSYSTEM FRAGMENTATION • INTRODUCED SPECIES • CONTAMINATION/POLLUTION • OVER-EXPLOITATION • CLIMATE CHANGE
  36. 36. Many species will not be able to adapt fast enough to changing environmental conditions and will face imminent extinction
  37. 37. B.C is the most biodiverse province in Canada. It’s biodiversity is globally significant because of its variety and integrity.
  38. 38. Ecosystem conversion due to development and agriculture, and degradation from the forest, oil and gas industries, and transportation corridors, has seriously impacted B.C’s biodiversity.
  39. 39. Species Richness Over Time (for 17 carnivore and ungulate species) Historic Current
  40. 40. Failure to protect ecosystems leads to… • loss of topsoil • erosion, flooding, drought •ground water contamination • loss of pollinators • reduced air and water quality • extinction of species.
  41. 41. Maintaining the integrity of natural systems is the best way to protect biodiversity in all its forms: genetic, species and ecosystems.
  42. 42. Comox Valley Conservation Strategy embraces the precautionary principle as a vital foundation of its regional conservation framework.
  43. 43. The Precautionary Principle: “If an activity may cause harm to the public or the environment, lack of full scientific certainty or consensus should not postpone measures to prevent damage from occurring.”
  44. 44. For more information on the Comox Valley Conservation Strategy: www.cvconservationstrategy.org

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