Urban Biodiversity

Why is conserving biodiversity important? There are many reasons to preserve biodiversity. Some arguments focus on the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems to serve human purposes, such as for recreational use or for sustaining the economy. Others focus on the importance of protecting individual species for their intrinsic value, or to support the holistic integrity of ecosystems. There is another generational argument to be made about preserving biodiversity to ensure a range of ecosystem services, including air purification or climate regulation, can continue into the future. Most people draw from more than one argument when calling for biodiversity conservation.

Biodiversity in BC British Columbia is home to a number of rare or endangered plant and animal species so protecting these is especially important. However, there are other less critically endangered species that are also valuable in maintaining biodiversity in our backyards and local parks. The urban environment of Vancouver has been described as a remarkably productive and biologically diverse area due to the coastal location, topography and mountains (Metro Vancouver, 2008). It contains many diverse ecosystems, including riparian areas, wetlands, intertidal areas and estuaries, alpine areas and forests. Vancouver is also known as the “Greenest City” with over 90% of the population estimated to live within 5 minutes of a green space (e.g. park, beach, wetland, etc.).

Learning objectives In this activity you will focus on biodiversity within your own local environment and reflect on what conserving biodiversity means in this context. The following objectives will be met: • Describe the diversity of species and habitats in the local environment where you live • Select a specific green space in which to explore urban biodiversity in more depth • Assess the status of biodiversity in your selected green space and current measures to protect biodiversity • Develop recommendations outlining the actions that different stakeholders can take to conserve biodiversity in your selected green space • Discuss how you might contribute to preserving local biodiversity through your own stewardship actions.

Sample Solution