Module 1 Background to
biodiversity
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British Columbia
Ministry of Forests
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Biodiversity in British Columbia

 

BC is more ecologically diverse than any province or territory in Canada.

Biodiversity in BC reflects the complex topography and climate.

BC has 14 biogeoclimatic zones (large geographic areas with a broadly homogeneous climate).

BC has nine terrestrial eco provinces (areas of similar climate, topography and geologic history).

BC contains 6 of the 10 forest regions in Canada, as well as a variety of grasslands, meadowlands, wetlands, rivers and lakes, and inter-tidal and sub-tidal zones.

For example, a variety of habitat types or successional stages are required to maintain a range of native mammals (see Figure 1).

In BC, there are:

bat drawing
  • 454 bird species this is more than 70% of all Canadian bird species. About one third of these breed only in BC

  • 143 mammal species this is nearly 80% of the total or Canada. 25 of these species occur only in BC

salamander drawing
  • 20 amphibians species (frogs, salamanders)

  • 80 species of birds, mammals and amphibians depend on wildlife trees for some component of their life history requirements (feeding, nesting, denning, shelter, perching)

  • 19 reptile species

  • BC Red List (endangered or threatened) and Blue List (vulnerable) are describe in BC's Biodiversity at Risk (See below) 

  • 112 (February, 2002) taxa (species and subspecies) of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles are on the provincial Red List (endangered or threatened)

  • 111 (February 2002) taxa (species and subspecies) of birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles are on the provincial Blue List (vulnerable)

  • 224 forested ecosystems are at risk (e.g., Garry Oak Arbutus)

  • 453 fish species, including 86 freshwater species. 37 freshwater species are at risk

  • Estimated 50,000 to 70,000 species of invertebrates, including 35,000 species of insects

  • Estimated 35,000 species of soil arthropods (of which only about one-half have been identified). These fauna play a key role in soil nutrient cycling

  • Between 350,000 to 700,000 soil arthropods per m2 in the north and central interior

  • About 520 plant communities (plant associations). 75 of these are on the provincial Red List

  • About 2,040 species of vascular plants. 271 of these are on the provincial Red List, and there are 346 vascular plants on the Blue List, as of 2002  

  • Estimated 1,000 species of bryophytes (mosses and liverworts)

  • Estimated 1,000 species of lichens

  • About 520 species of attached algae

  • At least 10,000 species of fungi, including up to 3,000 mushrooms. Some of these fungi are mycorrhizal fungi, which form essential symbiotic relationships (nutrient uptake and transfer) with the feeder roots of most trees and shrubs that grow in B.C.

     
  next Next: BC's biodiversity at risk 
 
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