Simply put, biodiversity is life in all its variety: over 14 million species found from mountain top to deep-sea vent. But it is much more. Those species connect, and interact. Those interactions create communities and systems, and those systems provide goods and services such as oxygen production, pollination, water filtration and storage, pest control, food production, carbon storage and erosion control. Again, simply put, biodiversity anchors nature’s life support system.
4 R’s of Biodiversity
- Retain (i.e. protect) populations, species and habitats that are ecologically significant.
- Restore habitats that have been degraded.
- Replace habitats that have been lost.
- Recover species that are at risk.
To protect biodiversity we need to understand it. That’s where the new State of Ontario’s Biodiversity 2010 can help. This report measures the health of Ontario’s biodiversity based on 29 indicators such as wetland losses and freshwater quality. This information can help us make better decisions about where to focus our efforts to conserve biodiversity.
In 2011 The Ontario Biodiversity Council released a renewed biodiversity strategy for the province, calling on government, conservation groups, industry and all Ontarians to help in protecting what sustains us. Read Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy, 2011: Renewing our Commitment to Protecting What Sustains Us, or for a snapshot of the strategy, read the summary report.
Biodiversity in Greater Sudbury (City of Greater Sudbury) See what Sudbury’s doing to enhance biodiversity in that city, including development of a Biodiversity Partnership and a Biodiversity Action Plan. This could be a blueprint for your town or city.
Biodiversity (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources) Learn about MNR’s role in supporting and protecting biodiversity, as well as Ontario’s species and ecosystems, and biodiversity in general.
Biodiversity general information and links by Ontario Nature.
Biodiversity and Natural Values (Ducks Unlimited Canada) How biodiversity provides the fundamental building blocks for natural systems that produce ecological goods and services with real economic value.
Biodivcanada.ca The website of the federal, provincial and territorial working group on biodiversity, includes biodiversity information, news and events.
Botanic Gardens Conservation International Their mission is to produce a guide to support outreach efforts of Canadian botanical gardens, museums and zoos related to plant conservation.
Canadian Biodiversity Information Network (Environment Canada) Links the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy to general public awareness and biodiversity-related information on a wide range of topics. Includes an Education & Awareness section.
The Canadian Biodiversity Website (McGill University) This a good site to start with to get a Canadian-based introduction to biodiversity, including theory, ecozones, species and issues.
The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) This major international initiative draws attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity, highlights the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and draws together expertise from the fields of science, economics and policy to identify practical actions for moving forward.
Environmental Education Ontario (EEON) provides comprehensive outcomes, needs and strategies for those involved in increasing environmental awareness and knowledge with 17 sectors of Ontario audiences. EEON also provides a listserve, links and networking for all audience groups and educators both formal and non-formal.
Explore Ontario’s Biodiversity (Royal Ontario Museum) This site provides information about the distribution and status of Ontario’s wildlife, by geographic region.
The Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation commissioned, and is now proud to have published, the Measuring Success on the Oak Ridges Moraine reports. Two years in the making, the eight-volume study documents where we are with the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan —successes, shortcomings, what’s working, what isn’t—and provides the government and other stakeholders with recommended actions and the data needed to plot a course that ensures its successful implementation and realization.
Ontario Stewardship Ontario Stewardship Councils help good ideas become great projects. Learn more about Ontario Stewardship in your community!
Ten Reasons to Save Biodiversity (NatureServe) A succinct yet comprehensive look at the value of biodiversity.
Wild Species 2005, the General Status of Species in Canada A comprehensive assessment of where we stand in terms of Canadian biodiversity by taxonomic group. Well-organized and easily to use.
Ontario Biodiversity Science Forum
The Ontario Biodiversity Science Forum was put in place to focus the biodiversity science agenda and foster science partnerships in Ontario by identifying knowledge gaps and recommending science priorities, addressing Action Item 28 of Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy. Look for activities here related to biodiversity education and awareness. The Science Forum convened a workshop to engage the broader biodiversity science community in its activities, and to provide an opportunity for feedback on the Forum’s role, goals and activities. Its key findings recognize and address the need to engage and educate the public.
Invading Species Awareness Program A partnership of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, ISAP provides free information (e.g. brochures, watch cards, stickers, signs, posters, education kits, prepared presentations) on invasive species, and what you can do to prevent their spread. Report sightings of invasive species.
Invasive Species in Canada A new web portal that serves as a gateway to information on Canada´s efforts to reduce the risks invasive species pose for the environment, economy and society. It provides links to credible sources on invasive species.
UN booklet on invasive species Excellent global introduction to the threat invasive species pose to biodiversity.
Garlic Mustard Identification and Control Excellent, 13-minute video; scroll about half-way down the page.