Biodiversity

Biodiversity Plants

So, what’s Biodiversity?

Biodiversity is the rich diversity of life – wildlife, fish, bird, insect and plant species and important ecosystems and habitats such as grasslands, wetlands, lakes, rivers and forests. This mix of ecosystems and species provides us with clean air and water; helps combat pollution, prevents flooding and erosion; and, provides important economic and recreational services and income which we benefit from every day.

Biodiversity Wetland

Why do we need Biodiversity?

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources estimates that biodiversity provides about $84 billion dollars each year in ecosystem services. Specific examples of the types of services that forests, wetlands, plants, animals, birds and fish provide include:

  • Control flooding and erosion

  • Clean water sources

  • Manage drought

  • Pollinate crops

  • Recharge water sources

  • Provide valuable green space

  • Store carbon emissions

Biodiversity Animals

Biodiversity and Climate Change

The relationship between climate change and biodiversity is closely interconnected - climate change seriously threatens biodiversity - yet healthy and sustainable biodiversity can help us to adapt to climate change impacts. Climate change impacts such as increased flooding and drought, frequent heat waves, extreme rain events, decreased water flow in our streams, fluctuating lake levels, decreased fisheries, and degraded water quality are being felt here in Ontario. These conditions will continue to significantly impact various types of municipal infrastructures. This includes built systems (roads and bridges) as well as natural systems (wetlands, forests) and people. Northern communities, in particular, are expected to experience significant impacts from climate change. Communities that rely on climate-related economies such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries could be at risk.


Biodiversity and Economics

Economically, biodiversity helps to produce energy, supplies water to industry and individual households, contributes to tourism, timber, fisheries and recreation industries, provides food and much more. Biodiversity plays a direct and important role in rural and urban economies, our environment and even to us as individuals.


Conservation Authorities and Biodiversity

Stewardship practices build biodiversity resiliency. Stewardship initiatives are often a simple and cost effective way to build resiliency in biodiversity. Community groups, all levels of government, Conservation Authorities, environmental agencies and landowners are working together to plant trees, rehabilitate and restore ecosystems, and improve water quality. They also identify and track Ontario’s biodiversity in a wide range of monitoring and reporting programs.

Ontario’s 36 Conservation Authorities have long recognized the importance of climate change adaptation and are working to address the increasing impacts of climate change on Ontario’s water and related biodiversity. The general goal of Conservation Authority watershed stewardship programs is to care for our land, water, air and biodiversity on a watershed basis recognizing that everything is connected in a watershed and affected by both natural and human activities. Through stewardship initiatives and conservation planning we can:

  • PROTECT AND RESTORE IMPORTANT WETLANDS AND FORESTS to prevent flooding and erosion, store excess water during intense rainfall events and capture carbon emissions

  • REHABILITATE AND RESTORE IMPORTANT VEGETATION ALONG RIVER COURSES to help manage flooding, reduce the flow of sediment and improve water quality

  • CONSERVE AND KEEP WATER IN THE WATER CYCLE through careful planning and stewardship programs

  • PROTECT URBAN GREEN SPACES to provide a place for residents to visit and cool off

  • WORK WITH AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS TO IMPLEMENT STEWARDSHIP ACTIVITIES that promotes better soils, keeps water flowing and protects water quality

  • MAINTAIN IMPORTANT GREEN CORRIDORS AND HABITATS for bird, fish, and animals

Celebrate Biodiversity With These Fun Activities

  • Participate in a Bioblitz at your local Conservation Area
  • Volunteer to plant trees with your local Conservation Authority
  • Get out your binoculars and join a birdwatching group at a Conservation Area
  • Take guided hike through a Conservation Area
  • Visit a Conservation Area and try to identify as many species of wildlife
  • Participate in a Conservation Authority Water Festival

Conservation Ontario is a member of the Ontario Biodiversity Council.

Partners

Back to Nature Network Canadian Mental Health Association Ducks Unlimited Ecohealth Ontario Ecoschools Forests Ontario Hike Ontario Kids in the Woods Initiative

LEAF Ontario Childrens Outdoor Charter Ontario Headwaters Ontario Nature Traversing Urban Poling York Region


conservation ontario Conservation Ontario
120 Bayview Parkway
Newmarket ON L3Y 3W3
905-895-0716
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