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What is biodiversity? Biodiversity, or biological diversity, is the natural variety of life in an area. The size of the area considered may be local (e.g., a rotting log), regional, (e.g., a landscape covering many square kilometres), or global.

Biodiversity includes:

Genetic diversity: the inherited variation among individuals of the same species, such as differences in hair and eye colour in humans.

Species diversity: the number and relative abundance of different plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, and protozoa.

Community or ecosystem diversity: the many ways that groups of species interact with one another and their physical surroundings.

Functional or process diversity: the variety of physical, chemical, and biological forces that organisms respond to. Examples include: fire, climate, decay and decomposition, and predator-prey relationships.

Research projects under way in British Columbia are helping us to:

  • develop methods for conducting biodiversity inventories
  • identify areas of high diversity
  • identify species and ecosystems that are rare or most threatened
  • understand habitat requirements of species
  • study the impacts of resource management on biodiversity and find ways to minimize these impacts.

In 1992, the provincial government initiated a co-operative biodiversity program with funding from the Corporate Resource Inventory Initiative; the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (Wildlife and Habitat Protection Branches); the Ministry of Forests (Research Branch); the Ministry of Small Business and Tourism (Royal British Columbia Museum); and the Forest Resource Development Agreement (FRDA II).

The Ministry of Forests Research Branch and the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks developed a biodiversity research and extension strategy with the assistance of the provincial research community. This strategy was presented to Forest Renewal BC, who provided funding for a program beginning in 1995. The goal of the extension component of this program is to extend information to scientists, resource managers, and the public through biodiversity publications. These publications are intended to increase awareness and understanding of biodiversity, promote the concepts and importance of conserving biodiversity, and communicate provincial government initiatives related to biodiversity. We hope that they will be used as tools for the conservation of British Columbia's rich, living legacy.

Links to Publications and projects:

Last Modified: 2006 MAY 11.
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