Ecology English


1. Explain in your own words the importance of linkages in our biodiverse world.  Why is biodiversity important to humans?

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2. There are 7 important ecosystem concepts.  Define each one in your own words.

3. Which of these seven concepts pertains to the story of “Thinking Like a Mountain”? Explain all that do.

4. There are 6 important ecological principles.  Define each one in your own words. 

5. Choose one principle and discuss its importance to you.  In your life experience, how does this principle pertain to you, what you see or don’t see, experience, or don’t, etc. 




        

      

E c o lo g i c a l C o n c e p ts ,

P r i n c i p l e s a n d

A p p l i c at i o n s to C o n s e rvat i o n
2 0 0 8

E c o lo g i c a l C o n c e p ts ,
P r i n c i p l e s a n d

A p p l i c at i o n s to C o n s e rvat i o n
2 0 0 8

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication Data

Main entry under title:
Ecological concepts, principles and applications to conservation

Editor: T. Vold. Cf. P.
ISBN 978-0-7726-6007-7

1. Biodiversity conservation. 2. Biodiversity.
3. Ecosystem


. I. Vold, Terje, 1949– .
II. Biodiversity BC.

QH75.E26 2008 333.95 C2008-960113-0

Suggested citation: Vold, T. and D.A. Buffett (eds.). 2008. Ecological Concepts, Principles and Applications
to Conservation, BC. 36 pp. Available at:

Cover photos: Jared Hobbs (western racer); Arifin Graham (footprints in sand).

Banner photos: Bruce Harrison (p. 1); iStock (p. 7, 19).

Design and Production: Alaris Design

Tale o Contents

About This Document v

  • Acknowledgements
  • vi

    1. What is Biodiversity? 1

    2. Ecological Concepts and Principles 7

    3. Application of Ecological Concepts and Principles 19

  • Glossary
  • 32

    List of Figures

    fgu . Examples of Biodiversity Components and Attributes 2

    fgu 2. The Contribution of Biodiversity to Human Well-Being 3

    fgu 3. Overview of Concepts, Principles and Applications 5


    The document was prepared by Biodiversity BC under the direction of its Technical Subcommittee, whose members

    reviewed and provided comment on various drafts. Members of the Technical Subcommittee include:

    • Matt Austin, B.C. Ministry of Environment,

    • Dan Buffett, Ducks Unlimited Canada,

    • Dave Nicolson, Nature Conservancy of Canada,

    • Geoff Scudder, The Nature Trust of British Columbia,

    • Victoria (Tory) Stevens, B.C. Ministry of Environment.

    The Biodiversity BC secretariat supports the work of the Steering Committee and the Technical Subcommit-

    tee and provides ongoing strategic advice. The secretariat consists of Stuart Gale, executive director, and Janet

    Fontaine, coordinator.

    This document was prepared under contract by Terje Vold with project direction and contributions by Dan Buf-

    fett on behalf of Biodiversity BC. Three experts kindly agreed to be interviewed as part of this project and provided

    valuable reference material and ideas that have been incorporated into the document:

    • Fred Bunnell, University of British Columbia, Faculty of Forestry;

    • Ken Lertzman, Simon Fraser University, School of Resource and Environmental Management; and

    • John Reynolds, Simon Fraser University, Department of Biological Sciences.

    John Reynolds, Ken Lertzman, Kaaren Lewis, Doug Biffard, Andrew Harcombe, Kristy Ciruna, Dianna Colnett,

    Michael Dunn, Liz Williams and Bruce Harrison reviewed and commented on an initial draft; C.S. Holling and

    Gordon H. Orians kindly reviewed and provided feedback on a subsequent draft; and a final draft received the

    benefit of further review and comment by Fred Bunnell, Carmen Cadrin and John Richardson. David Greer edited

    the report and Arifin Graham designed it.

     

    Aot tis docent

    The purpose of this document is to provide a primer on the concepts and principles that support cooperative ac-

    tions to conserve B.C.’s rich biodiversity. As a companion piece to Taking Nature’s Pulse: The Status of Biodiversity

    in British Columbia, this document is intended to stimulate public discussion about how best to identify and

    implement priority actions for biodiversity conservation in this province.

    This document was prepared by Biodiversity BC, a partnership of government and non-government organiza-

    tions with a mandate to produce a biodiversity strategy for British Columbia.

    Biodiversity BC Partner groups:

    • B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands,

    • B.C. Ministry of Environment,

    • Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (representing environmental non-government organizations),

    • Ducks Unlimited Canada,

    • Environment Canada,

    • Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation,

    • Metro Vancouver (representing the Union of British Columbia Municipalities),

    • Nature Conservancy of Canada,

    • Pacific Salmon Foundation,

    • The Land Conservancy of British Columbia, and

    • The Nature Trust of British Columbia.

    This document consists of three parts:

    1. What is biodiversity?: a definition of biodiversity and its value;

    2. Ecological concepts and principles: general understandings and assumptions about biodiversity; and

    3. Application of ecological concepts and principles: ways to maintain biodiversity including what can

    be done and how to do it.

         g             ,                                     

    1 Wat is Biodiversity?

    1.1 Defining Biodiversity

    he Canadian Biodiversity Strategy defines biodiversity as “the variety of species and ecosystems on Earth

    and the ecological processes of which they are a part – including ecosystem, species, and genetic diversity


    The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity provides a similar definition for biodiversity: “the

    variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia [among other things], terrestrial, marine

    and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within

    species, between species and of ecosystems.”

    In short, the term is used to refer to life in all its forms and the natural processes that support and connect all

    life forms. Biodiversity is not easily defined because it is more than just the sum of its parts, as all of its elements,

    regardless of whether we understand their roles or know their status, are integral to maintaining functioning,

    evolving, resilient ecosystems. Complex concepts such as biodiversity are often easier to grasp if reduced to their

    component pieces. While this approach does not give a complete picture of how these pieces interact and combine

    to create biodiversity, it helps us understand different aspects of


    The levels of organization of biodiversity include ecosystems, species and genes.

    • An ecosystem is a dynamic complex of plant, animal and microorganism communities and non-living

    (abiotic) elements, all interacting as a functional unit. An ecosystem’s character changes as community

    2      g             ,                                    

    Ecosystem Ecosystems in an area Patch size Connectivity

    Species Species richness in an area Abundance Predator/prey dynamics

    Genetic Number of unique genes in a

    Relative abundance of
    each unique gene in a



    members and physical contexts change, sometimes crossing a threshold of tolerance within the system

    that results in its inability to return to its previous form.

    • Species are a complete, self-generating, unique ensemble of genetic variation, capable of interbreeding

    and producing fertile offspring. They (and their subspecies and populations) are generally considered

    to be the only self-replicating units of genetic diversity that can function independently.

    • Genes are the working units of heredity; each gene is a segment of the DNA molecule that encodes a single

    enzyme or structural protein unit. Genetic diversity is the foundation of all biodiversity. Genetic variation

    permits populations to adapt to changing environments and continue to participate in life’s processes.

    Three primary attributes of biodiversity are composition, structure and function.1

    • Composition is the identity and variety of an ecological system. Descriptors of composition are typically

    lists of the species resident in an area or an ecosystem and measures of composition include species

    richness and diversity of species.

    • Structure is the physical organization or pattern of a system, from habitat complexity as measured

    within communities to the pattern of habitats (or patches) and other elements at a landscape scale.

    • Functions are the result of one or more ecological and evolutionary processes, including predation,

    gene flow, natural disturbances and mycorrhizal associations as well as abiotic processes such as soil

    development and hydrological cycles. Examples of functions include predator-prey systems, water

    purifications and nutrient cycling.

    Each of these attributes is multi-scalar and incorporates both spatial and temporal dynamics. As a result, these

    attributes may also be examined at different scales including regions, landscapes and ecosystems.

    Figure 1 provides examples of some of the linkages between the primary components and attributes of


    f  g u    . e x a  p l e o   i o d i v e r s i t y c o  p o n e n ts a n d at t r i  t e s

                      3

    1.2 The Value of Biodiversity to Humans

    Biodiversity is the foundation of a vast array of ecosystem services essential for human well-being (see Figure 2).2

    Ecosystems support all forms of life, moderate climates, filter water and air, conserve soil and nutrients and

    control pests. Species (animal and plant) provide us with food, building materials, energy and medicines. They

    also provide vital services such as pollination, waste assimilation, water filtration and distribution of seeds and

    nutrients. Genetic diversity enables us to breed higher-yield and disease-resistant plants and animals and allows

    the development or natural evolution of breeds and races that thrive under a variety of environmental condi-

    tions.3 For instance, genetic variability in a species allows adaptation over time to changing climatic conditions.

    The cultural services that ecosystems provide include recreational, aesthetic and spiritual values that are vital to

    individual and societal well-being.

    Key public concerns about human impacts on biodiversity include effects on rates of extinction, future options,

    productivity of ecosystems, and loss of economic opportunities.4 Retaining a variety and abundance of individuals

    and species permits the adaptability that sustains ecosystem productivity in changing environments and promotes

    further diversity (future adaptability and options), thereby potentially sustaining desirable economic and envi-

    ronmental opportunities and maintaining future options for the benefit of human communities.

    In addition, many people believe that all life forms have an intrinsic value and that humans have a moral ob-

    ligation to protect them and ensure that they survive for their own sake apart from their potential value to future

    human generations.5

    Food, fibre & fuel
    Genetic resources
    Fresh water


    Spiritual values
    Knowledge systems
    Education & inspiration
    Recreation & aesthetic

    Primary production
    Provision of habitat
    Nutrient cycling
    Soil formation/retention
    Production of
    atmospheric oxygen
    Water cycling

    Invasion resistance
    Seed dispersal
    Climate regulation
    Pest & disease regulation
    Natural hazard protection
    Erosion regulation
    Water purification



    f  g u   2 . t  e c o n t r i  t i o n o   i o d i v e r s i t y to    a n  e l l –  e i n g 6

          g             ,                                    

    Figure 3 provides an overview of the ecological concepts and principles discussed in section 2 and their ap-

    plication as discussed in section 3. Ecological concepts are general understandings (or facts) about ecosystems

    and ecosystem management. Ecological principles are basic assumptions (or beliefs) about ecosystems and how

    they function that are informed by the ecological concepts. Ecological principles use ecological concepts (which

    are understood to be true) to draw key conclusions that can then guide human applications (section 3) aimed at

    conserving biodiversity.

                      

    • Levels of biological
    • Native species
    • Keystone
    • Population viability/


    Coarse and

    fine filter approach

    • Risk is an inherent aspect of


    • Adaptive management
    • Ecosystem-based management
    • Protected area


    • Ecological resilience
    • Disturbances
    • Connectivity/


    • Protection of species and species subdivisions will conserve
    genetic diversity

    • Maintaining habitat is fundamental to conserving species
    • Large areas usually contain more species than smaller areas

    with similar habitat

    • All things are connected but the nature and strengths
    of those connections vary

    • Disturbances shape the characteristics of populations,
    communities, and ecosystems

    • Climate influences terrestrial, freshwater and marine



    • Use

    coarse and fine filter approach

    • Representation, in a system of protected areas
    • Retain large contiguous or connected areas
    • Maintain or emulate ecological processes
    • Manage landscapes and communities to be responsive to

    environmental change
    • Manage towards viable populations of all native species
    • Preserve rare landscape elements, critical habitats and

    features, and associated species
    • Minimize the introduction and spread of invasive alien

    species that disrupt ecological resilience and population

    • Set objectives and targets for biodiversity in plans
    • Manage biodiversity at multiple levels of biological

    organization and multiple time and spatial scales
    • Incorporate spatial and temporal approaches to land use

    that are compatible with an area’s natural potential
    • Avoid land uses that convert natural ecosystems and

    restore damaged ecosystems
    • Avoid, mitigate or as a last option compensate for the

    effects of human activities on biodiversity
    • Employ

    adaptive management

    of natural resources

    to maximize learning
    • Given that humans are a powerful agent of change,

    make science based decisions

    f  g u   3 . ov e rv i e  o  c o n c e p ts , p r i n c i p l e s a n d a p p l i c at i o n s

    6      g             ,                                    

  • 2 Ecological Principles
  • 2.1 Ecological Concepts

    Ecological concepts are general understandings (or facts) about ecosystems and ecosystem management.

    • Ecosystem concepts provide a foundation for developing ecological principles in section 2.2 and ap-

    plications in section 3.

    • Ecosystem management concepts are basic tools that can be applied to support some of the applica-

    tions in section 3 that relate to planning.

    The following pages define each concept (additional definitions are provided in the glossary) and provide

    examples to put them in context. The definitions are ordered to follow the levels of biological organization from

    populations to species, ecosystems and landscapes, taking into account the fact that ecosystems contain both

    biotic and abiotic components―that is to say, not only living organisms and their relationships but also non-living

    elements such as soil and hydrological cycles.

    2 . 1 . 1 e c o s y s t e  c o n c e p t s

    concept 1

    Levels of biological organization (genes, populations, species, communities, ecosystems, landscapes, regions).

    Life is dynamic and involves multi-scale ecological patterns and processes.7 Although each scale is important, the

    interdependence of scales needs to be understood and assessed in order to conserve biodiversity.

         g             ,                                    

          g             ,                                    

    The cross-scale nature of ecosystems includes ecological processes that operate from centimeters and days to

    hundreds of kilometers and millennia and collectively affect biodiversity.8 In a forest, for example, this ranges in

    increasing scale from physiological processes that affect the life history of leaves, competition between plant spe-

    cies in a clump or gap that affect populations, disturbance and predation processes that influence the composition

    and structure of a community, to climatic processes that influence landscapes and regions. Each of these scales

    interacts with their finer/faster and coarser/slower neighbouring scales resulting in hierarchies and adaptive cycles

    that have been referred to as a panarchy.9

    concept 2

    Native species are those that naturally exist at a given location or in a particular ecosystem – i.e., they have not been

    moved there by humans.10 For example, cedar and salmon are native to B.C.; Scotch broom and brown bullhead

    are introduced species that are not native to B.C. and have invaded some local ecosystems. Native plants, animals,

    fungi and microbes co-evolved over time to form a complex network of relationships. They are the foundation of

    natural ecosystems that sustain biological diversity. However, B.C. is a relatively new landscape due to glaciation

    that covered most of the province several thousand years ago. Given the short evolutionary scale for species, B.C.

    has few endemic (i.e., unique to B.C.) species.

    Non-native species (or alien species) move into an ecosystem as a result of humans having moved them at

    some point or having removed a natural barrier (e.g., the removal of a natural barrier to fish passage). Invasive alien

    species have the potential to displace native species and threaten ecosystems or species with economic or environ-

    mental harm.11 Invasive alien species can be particularly damaging since they are not subject to natural predators

    and diseases that keep populations of native species in check. Some invasive aliens cause a fundamental change

    in ecosystem composition, structure and function. For example, the spread of Eurasian watermilfoil in freshwater

    ecosystems in B.C. (introduced primarily on boat trailers) has clogged gravel spawning beds used by salmon on the

    coast and has also resulted in substantial increases in the release of phosphorus in Okanagan lakes.12

    concept 3

    A keystone species, ecosystem or process has a disproportionate influence on an ecosystem or landscape such

    as the role beavers play in altering the hydrological characteristics of streams and wetlands.

    • Keystone species have effects on biological communities that are disproportionate to their abundance

    and biomass. The loss of keystone species results in broader community or ecosystem-level effects.13

    A keystone species interacts with other species through predation, symbiotic dependencies such as

    plant-pollinator relationships, or ecosystem modification (e.g., cavity nesters, beaver impoundments).

         g               

    In B.C.’s coastal temperate rainforests, wild salmon species are often considered an important keystone

    species as they add marine nitrogen to freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems and are an important food

    source for many animals, including grizzly bears that drag the carcasses of salmon into the forest, add-

    ing beneficial nitrogen into forest soils where it is limited.14 Another example is sea otters that feed on

    sea urchins, which in turn feed on kelp. By limiting the number of sea urchins, the sea otter promotes

    the development of kelp forests which in turn provide habitat for fish and invertebrate species. When

    hunting wiped out the sea otter from the B.C. coast, the kelp forests disappeared from many areas.15

    • A keystone ecosystem is particularly important because it provides habitat for a large portion or critical

    elements of an area’s biodiversity.16 Riparian ecosystems near streams, lakes and wetlands are consid-

    ered keystone since they cover a relatively small area yet support a disproportionately large number of

    species.17 Estuaries are also a keystone ecosystem because of their disproportionately large influence

    relative to their size and abundance.18

    • A keystone process is fundamental to the maintenance of an ecosystem. For example, fire plays a vital

    role in maintaining open ponderosa pine forests and grasslands in B.C.’s dry interior. Pollination is

    another keystone process.19

    concept 4

    Population viability/thresholds. “Viability” in this context refers to the probability of survival of a population/spe-

    cies in the face of ecological processes such as disturbance. When the amount of habitat available declines below

    the “extinction threshold”, a population/species will decline and eventually disappear;20 in addition to habitat for

    particular populations, a species’ survival depends on maintaining healthy genetic variability. Species-level details

    about movement, behaviour and life history traits demonstrate that threshold responses vary by species and can

    be difficult to detect.21 Unfortunately, the demographic data required to estimate viability are known for less than

    0.01% of the species in B.C. Although extinction is normal in natural ecosystems, present rates of extinction have

    been accelerated by human activities.

    The concept of minimum viable population refers to the smallest isolated population having a reasonable chance

    of surviving over time despite the foreseeable effects of demographic, environmental and genetic events and natural

    disturbances. Therefore, in smaller populations, the reproduction and survival of individuals decreases, leading

    to a continuing decline in population numbers. This effect may be due to a number of causes such as inbreeding

    or the ability to find a mate, which may become increasingly difficult as population density decreases.

           g             ,                                    

    concept 5

    Ecological resilience is the capacity of an ecosystem to cope with disturbance or stress and return to a stable

    state. The concept of ecological resilience is consistent with the notion that ecosystems are complex, dynamic

    and adaptive systems that are rarely at equilibrium; most systems can potentially exist in various states. Moreover,

    they continually change in unpredictable ways in response to a changing environment.22 This concept measures

    the amount of stress or disruption required to transform a system that is maintained by one set of structures and

    processes to a different set of structures and functions.23 A resilient ecosystem can better withstand shocks and

    rebuild itself without collapsing into a different state.

    Ecosystem change can occur suddenly if the resilience that normally buffers change has been reduced. Such

    changes become more likely when slow variables erode. Slow variables include the diversity of species and their

    abundance in the ecosystem, and regional variability in the environment due to factors such as climate. All of

    these variables are affected by human influence.

    Both functional diversity and response diversity are important to maintain ecological resilience. Functional

    diversity is the number of functionally different groups of species and consists of two aspects: one that affects the

    influence of a function within a scale (see ‘levels of biological organization’ above) and the other that aggregates

    that influence across scales.24 Response diversity is the diversity of responses to environmental change among

    species contributing to the same ecological function and provides adaptive capacity given complex systems, un-

    certainty and human influence.25

    In a rangeland, for example, functional diversity increases the productivity of a plant community as a whole,

    bringing together species that take water from different depths, grow at different speeds, and store different amounts

    of carbon and nutrients. Response diversity enables a community to keep performing in the same way in the face

    of stresses and disturbances such as grazing and drought.26

    concept 6

    Disturbances are individually distinct events, either natural or human-induced, that cause a change in the exist-

    ing condition of an ecological system.27 Disturbances can be described in terms of their type, intensity, spatial

    extent, frequency and other factors.

    • Natural disturbances include wildfire, flood, freshet, lake turnover, drought, windthrow, and insect and

    disease outbreaks. Some “natural disturbances” may be responding to human-caused climate change –

    a current example is the mountain pine beetle epidemic in the interior of the province. Extreme natural

         g                

    disturbance events often characterize an ecosystem and ensure the presence of some species. Disturbance

    is critical to maintaining the richness of systems (e.g., riparian ecosystems) or rejuvenating them.

    • Human-induced disturbances in terrestrial ecosystems include, for example, timber harvesting, road

    building, and rural and urban development. Human-caused aquatic disturbances include damming,

    water extraction from rivers and streams, wetland drainage and pollution. Some of these human-

    related disturbances cause lasting changes that can fundamentally alter ecosystems and modify our

    approach to ecosystem management. For example, to reduce fire damage on property and in forests,

    the management response is to reduce the size and intensity of forest fires, which truncates the range

    of disturbances of ecosystems.

    • Biological legacies are the elements of a pre-disturbance ecosystem that survive to participate in its

    recovery. They are a structural consequence of the selective filter that the disturbance process imposes

    on the ecosystem. Biological legacies are critical elements of ecosystem dynamics across a broad range

    of ecosystems studied. Examples are large fish in freshwater systems or standing live and dead trees in

    forests, which are common within the perimeter of a wildfire and play critical roles in the establishment

    of new forests and in sustaining biodiversity.

    The term “natural range of variability” (NRV ) is used to describe naturally occurring variation over time of the

    composition and structure found in a system, resulting in part from sequences of disturbances.28 This has tradi-

    tionally been estimated in North America by examining the variations that occurred during the centuries prior

    to European settlement. The longer the time frame over which the variability is calculated, the more variability

    is included. Infrequent catastrophic events are sometimes excluded from the NRV estimates, although, as noted

    above, such events can be influential in characterizing and sustaining ecosystems. The traditional activities of First

    Nations are often considered part of the NRV as their actions were typically part of the ecosystem for hundreds

    to thousands of years.

    Climate change will play an important (though not the only) role in future changes to the NRV. The current

    rate of rapid climate change has the potential to shift ecosystems out of the range of conditions they experienced

    historically. As a result, the past will become an increasingly unreliable guide for estimating the current and future

    NRV for an area. Alternatively NRV could be estimated using climate models, however, it should be recognized that a

    time lag would be expected as the composition and structure of an ecosystem shifts due to changes in the NRV.

     2      g             ,                                    

    concept 7

    Connectivity/fragmentation is the degree to which ecosystem structure facilitates or impedes the movement of

    organisms between resource patches.29 What constitutes connectivity is scale-dependent and varies for each species

    depending on its habitat requirements, sensitivity to disturbance and vulnerability to human-caused mortality.30

    Connectivity allows individual organisms to move in response to changing conditions, such as seasonal cycles, a

    forest fire or climate change. Loss of connectivity results in fragmentation. The degree and characteristics of natural

    connectivity vary with differences in landscape type.31 Humans can impact connectivity and cause fragmentation

    in ways that can adversely affect biodiversity.
    Connectivity and fragmentation are both important contributors to ecosystem function and processes. For

    example, some habitat types (e.g., caves, bogs, cliffs) may be ‘naturally’ fragmented; others (e.g., streams, riparian

    habitat) are essentially linear; and others are often distributed in large blocks or patches. A key management chal-

    lenge is how to deal with habitats that existed naturally in large patches but which, as a result of human activity,

    have been converted into much smaller, sometimes isolated patches. Another challenge is to reduce ‘unnatural’

    connectivity to naturally fragmented and isolated habitats so that the unique species they support are not dis-

    placed by invading species.

    2 . 1 . 2 e c o s y s t e   a n a g e  e n t c o n c e p t s

    The ecosystem concepts described in section 2.1.1 help inform basic ecosystem management concepts that, in turn,

    support some of the applications in section 3 that relate to planning.

    concept 8

    Coarse and fine filter approach. Concept 1 (levels of biological organization) notes that there are recognizable but

    varying degrees of aggregation and association among species and the processes they create. Coarse and fine filter

    approaches build on that concept. “Coarse filter” is a metaphor to express the idea that by conserving the ecological

    communities of a given region, the majority of species will be conserved. The coarse filter approach refers to the

    management of landscapes through a network of protected areas, and management practices in the surrounding

    matrix that attempt to emulate and conserve natural ecological processes within the NRV. “Fine filter” is a metaphor

    to express the idea that some species, ecosystems and features need to be conserved through individual, often

    localized efforts (this is called the fine filter approach) because they fall through the mesh of the coarse filter. An ex-

    ample is a species of conservation concern that relies on a particular habitat feature within an ecosystem for survival

    where the feature is not normally conserved by a coarse filter approach. Some ecologists consider the retention of

         g                3

    biological legacies following disturbances, such as live and dead trees, and coarse woody debris in forested landscapes,

    as a “medium filter” approach that conserves stand (or site) level biodiversity.32

    concept 9

    Risk is an inherent aspect of decision-making. Given the complexity and variability evident in Concepts 1, 4, 5

    and 6 above, we can never be wholly certain of the consequences of a management action. Risk is the potential

    for loss or damage resulting from a particular action or decision. Risk assessment takes into consideration two

    elements: (1) the likelihood of an event occurring; and (2) the magnitude of the consequences should that event

    occur. Risk assessment is a formal appraisal of these two elements. Risk management is the process of weighing

    the assessed risks against the expected benefits to make the “best” decision. Uncertainty is directly related to risk,

    for example, because an increase in uncertainty can result in a higher perception of risk.33

    concept 10

    Adaptive management. As a formal response to the presence of uncertainty and risk, adaptive management is a

    systematic learning process that formally plans and monitors the outcomes of decisions to improve our ability

    to better manage natural resources given uncertainty. The options to improve decision making with incomplete

    knowledge include: (1) “trial and error”, in which initial choices are a ‘best guess’ with later choices chosen from

    a subset that gives better results; (2) “passive adaptive” where one model is assumed to be correct; and (3) “active

    adaptive” where multiple alternate models are linked to policy choices.34 Passive adaptive management can provide

    an effective means of identifying the best (or at least better) practices among existing practices. Active adaptive

    management can play a particularly important role by incorporating uncertainty in a dynamic system35 and thus

    providing greater learning opportunities for stakeholders, scientists, managers and citizens. The concepts of risk

    and uncertainty are inextricably linked to adaptive management, where learning is a key output in support of

    continuous improvement in decision-making.36

    concept 11

    Ecosystem-based management (EBM). EBM can be defined as “an adaptive approach to managing human ac-

    tivities that seeks to ensure the coexistence of healthy, fully functioning ecosystems and human communities.

    The intent is to maintain those spatial and temporal characteristics of ecosystems such that component species

    and ecological processes can be sustained, and human wellbeing supported and improved.”37 Thus EMB is not

    only necessarily place-based but also takes into account two opposing value systems (intrinsic ecosystem value

    vs. value to humans). There are many definitions of EBM and several include both socio-economic and biological


           g             ,                                    

    concept 12

    Protected area. Protected area in this context refers to any area that has some form of protection and typically has

    a minimal human footprint. In B.C. that would include all federal or provincially designated parks and protected

    areas as well as many areas that are managed primarily for biodiversity. Examples are National Wildlife Areas, Wild-

    life Management Areas, riparian reserve zones, old growth management areas, wildlife habitat areas and ungulate

    winter ranges. Some private lands protected through acquisition or agreement would also qualify.

    Protected areas are often the core of a coarse filter approach to conservation. However, they also can serve

    other conservation roles. Protected areas are used for fine filter purposes (e.g., to protect a population of a rare

    species or a significant landform); to provide connectivity; to serve as benchmarks; and/or to provide for research

    and education opportunities.

    2.2 Ecological Principles

    Ecological principles are basic assumptions (or beliefs) about ecosystems and how they function and are informed

    by the ecological concepts described in section 2.1 above. Ecological principles build on ecological concepts (which

    are understood to be true) to draw key conclusions that can then guide human applications (section 3) aimed at

    conserving biodiversity.

    principle 1

    Protection of species and species’ subdivisions will conserve genetic diversity.39

    At the population level, the important processes are ultimately genetic and evolutionary because these maintain the

    potential for continued existence of species and their adaptation to changing conditions. In most instances manag-

    ing for genetic diversity directly is impractical and difficult to implement. The most credible surrogate for sustaining

    genetic variability is maintaining not only species but also the spatial structure of genetic variation within species

    (such as sub-species and populations). Maintenance of populations distributed across a species’ natural range will

    assist in conserving genetic variability. This ensures the continuation of locally adapted genetic variants. Retaining

    a variety of individuals and species permits the adaptability needed to sustain ecosystem productivity in changing

    environments and can also beget further diversity (future adaptability). This will be particularly important given

    climate change; for example, the genetic potential of populations at the northern edge of their range in B.C. may be

    particularly important to help facilitate species adaptation to changes. Species that are collapsing towards the edge

    (versus centre) of their range and disjunct populations (where a local population is disconnected from the continu-

    ous range of the species) are also particularly important to consider, given climate change, in order to conserve ge-

    netic diversity and enable adaptation.

    Key supporting concepts:

    Population viability/thresholds;

    levels of biological organization

         g                

    principle 2

    Maintaining habitat is fundamental to conserving species.

    A species habitat is the ecosystem conditions that support its life requirements. Our understanding of habitat is based

    on our knowledge of a species’ ecology and how that determines where a species is known to occur or likely to occur.

    Habitat can be considered at a range of spatial and temporal scales that include specific microsites (e.g., occupied

    by certain invertebrates, bryophytes, some lichens), large heterogeneous habitats, or occupancy of habitat during

    certain time periods (e.g., breeding sites, winter range areas). Therefore conserving habitat requires a multi-scale

    approach from regions to landscapes to ecosystems to critical habitat elements, features and structures.

    principle 3

    Large areas usually contain more species than smaller areas with similar habitat.

    The theory of island biogeography illustrates a basic principle that large areas usually contain more species than

    smaller areas with similar habitat because they can support larger and more viable populations. The theory holds

    that the number of species on an island is determined by two factors: the distance from the mainland and island

    size. These would affect the rate of extinction on the islands and the level of immigration. Other factors being

    similar (including distance to the mainland), on smaller islands the chance of extinction is greater than on larger

    ones. This is one reason why larger islands can hold more species than smaller ones. In the context of applying

    the theory more broadly, the “island” can be any area of habitat surrounded by areas unsuitable for the species on

    the island.40 Therefore a system of areas conserved for biodiversity that includes large areas can effectively support

    more viable populations.

    principle 4

    All things are connected but the nature and strength of those connections vary.

    Species play many different roles in communities and ecosystems and are connected by those roles to other spe-

    cies in different ways and with varying degrees of strength. It is important to understand key interactions. Some

    species (e.g., keystone species) have a more profound effect on ecosystems than others. Particular species and

    networks of interacting species have key, broad-scale ecosystem-level effects while others do not.

    The ways in which species interact vary in addition to the strengths of those interactions. Species can be preda-

    tor and/or prey, mutualist or synergist. Mutualist species provide a mutually beneficial association for each other

    such as fungi that colonize plant roots and aid in the uptake of soil mineral nutrients. Synergistic species create an

    effect greater than that predicted by the sum of effects each is able to create independently.

    The key issue is that it is important to determine which among the many interactions are the strong ones be-

    cause those are the ones toward which attention needs to be directed.

    Key supporting concepts:

    Levels of biological organization;


    native species

    Key supporting concepts:
    Population viability/thresholds;

    protected area; coarse and fine

    filter approach

    Key supporting concepts:
    Levels of biological organization;

    keystone ecological processes

     6      g             ,                                    

    principle 5

    Disturbances shape the characteristics of populations, communities, and ecosystems.

    The type, intensity, frequency and duration of disturbances shape the characteristics of populations, communities

    and ecosystems including their size, shape and spatial relationships.

    Natural disturbances have played a key role in forming and maintaining natural ecosystems by influencing their

    structure including the size, shape and distribution of patches. The more regions, landscapes, ecosystems and local

    habitat elements resemble those that were established from natural disturbances, the greater the probability that

    native species and ecological processes will be maintained. This approach can be strengthened by developing an

    improved understanding of how ecosystems respond to both natural and human disturbances, thus creating op-

    portunities to build resilience in the system. For example, high frequency, low intensity fires have shaped ponderosa

    pine ecosystems while low frequency, high intensity fires have shaped lodgepole pine ecosystems. Maintaining

    these ecosystems means restoring fire and/or designing management practices such as harvesting to reduce the

    differences between a managed landscape and a landscape pattern created by natural disturbance.

    Since ecosystems can change dramatically at the site level due to natural disturbances, considering their

    composition and structure of habitats at the landscape-level may be more useful. For terrestrial ecosystems, this

    means taking into account:

    • species composition;

    • the amount and patch size distribution;

    • the variety and proportion of seral stages of terrestrial habitat from young to old; and

    • the diversity of within community structure (e.g., a variety of amounts of snags and coarse woody debris

    within forest stands).

    It is important to recognize that for some less mobile species, distribution of habitat is potentially as influential

    as amount of habitat (i.e., patch size; connectivity).

    Key supporting concepts:

    Disturbances; connectivity/


         g                

    principle 6

    Climate influences terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems.

    Climate is usually defined as all of the states of the atmosphere seen at a place over many years. Climate has a

    dominant effect on biodiversity as it influences meteorological variables like temperature, precipitation and wind

    with consequences for many ecological and physical processes, such as photosynthesis and fire behaviour. For

    example, major temperature fluctuations in surface waters in the Pacific Ocean due to El Nino climatic events can

    influence weather and significantly warm temperatures throughout much of B.C. This in turn can increase some

    wildlife populations or impact the migration timing of some migratory bird populations.41 Another example of the

    effect of climate is the loss of large populations of native B.C. oysters due to cold temperatures in the 1900s; simi-

    larly, cold periods can kill fish in lakes.

    Because of the key role of climate, rapid climate change profoundly changes ecosystems.42 For example, cli-

    mate change enables population outbreaks in some species and likely contributed to the mountain pine beetle

    epidemic in B.C. due to successive warm winters. Alterations to stream flow and timing of freshet resulting from

    climate change affects fish and waterfowl. A critical question therefore is: How should anticipated climate changes

    influence current conservation decisions so that ecosystems remain resilient in the future?

    Key supporting concepts:

    Ecological resilience; disturbances

           g                         

         g             ,                                             g                         

    3 Application o Ecological Concepts
    and Principles

    he applications described below provide ways of applying the ecological concepts and principles in order to

    conserve biodiversity. No single application will be sufficient – each approach ideally needs to be operating

    in conjunction with others. The applications are grouped into those that primarily relate to:

    • coarse and fine filter applications: techniques to help conserve biodiversity; and

    • planning applications: techniques to promote biodiversity conservation using planning tools and

    adaptive management that continuously improves our understanding of what needs to done and how

    this can be more effectively delivered over time.

    3.1 Coarse and fine filter applications:

    application 1

    Use coarse and fine filter approaches.

    Coarse filter approaches include the management of landscapes through a network of representative protected

    areas and management practices in the non-protected matrix that attempt to emulate natural ecological processes

    with composition and structure falling within the natural range of variability. Large-scale coarse filter approaches

    – at the levels of ecosystems and landscapes – are the only reasonable way to conserve the overwhelming mass –

    the millions of species – of existing biodiversity. Vertebrates and vascular plants make up a very small portion of

     

    Key supporting concept:

    Coarse and fine filter approach

    2             f      g                         

    biodiversity, and the vast majority of other species remain unknown. Many of the smaller organisms, including

    invertebrates, fungi and bacteria, provide critical ecosystem functions such as decomposition and nitrogen fixa-

    tion; and contrary to some beliefs, many of these organisms are vulnerable to human impacts. Because there are

    simply too many species to handle on a species-by-species basis, the only practical way to conserve most biodi-

    versity is to focus on the protection and management of ecosystems and landscapes.43 The assumption is that if

    the key attributes of ecosystems and landscapes are managed within the natural range of variability, the species

    associated with those ecosystems and landscapes can be maintained.

    Coarse filter approaches can be applied in a manner that focuses conservation efforts where they most matter

    – for example, by identifying those ecosystems or regions with a high number of endemic species (unique to that

    ecosystem or region) where a high percent of the original habitat has been lost.44 This can help focus conservation

    efforts where they are likely to protect the most species that are vulnerable to habitat loss.45

    Fine filter approaches focus on ecosystems, features and species, including species and ecosystems of con-

    servation concern that may not be adequately protected through ‘coarse filter’ management approaches. The

    ecosystems, features and species that are not conserved by coarse filter approaches may be critical to maintaining

    biodiversity. For example, coarse filter efforts may not conserve small habitats or ecosystems such as a bald eagle

    nest or a cave. Although coarse filter or ecosystem approaches to species conservation are essential, they must

    often be supplemented by fine filter approaches.

    application 2

    Ensure representation in a system of protected areas.

    Protected areas, including those managed primarily for biodiversity conservation and those managed for a wide

    range of sustainable uses, are extremely important, especially in environments where biodiversity loss is occurring

    as a result of ecosystem loss or alteration. An important conservation goal is to represent the diversity of ecosys-

    tems or enduring features within a system of protected areas. Proportional representation may be a good starting

    point with the actual level or amount of representation varying depending on factors such as rarity and sensitivity.

    Providing protected areas sufficiently large to represent predator-prey systems may also result in some ecosystem

    types having higher levels of representation than other types.

    Despite efforts to increase the number and size of protected areas, the current system in most jurisdictions

    is not sufficient for conservation of all (or even representative) components of biodiversity, in part due to lack of

    representativeness. The variation across marine and freshwater ecosystems is even less protected than terrestrial

    ones due in part to a focus on terrestrial ecosystems and perhaps also jurisdictional issues. Marine protected

    Key supporting concepts:

    Protected area, coarse and

    fine filter approach

         g             ,                                     2 

    areas can provide striking examples of the potential synergies between conservation and sustainable use, since

    appropriately placed ones can significantly increase the fishery harvest in adjoining areas.46

    In addition to direct conservation benefits, protected areas provide invaluable natural benchmarks to assess

    our success in emulating natural conditions in other areas. Assessing the natural state of some ecosystems (such

    as long-lived forests) can be very difficult and is greatly influenced by spatial and temporal scale – now a moving

    target with climate change. Consequently, the natural benchmark values of protected areas are very important.

    “Gap analysis” is a technique used in many jurisdictions in North America, including B.C., to assess ways to

    improve representation in the protected area and reserve system. The technique overlays ecosystem units or other

    more enduring units within existing protected areas to assess “gaps” in representation.47 In B.C. terrestrial repre-

    sentation has used the Ecoregion and Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification systems. There are also nearshore,48

    marine49,50,51 and freshwater ecological classification systems that can be used to assess representation.52

    application 3

    Retain large contiguous or connected areas.

    Unlike many jurisdictions in the world, B.C. still has relatively large areas of “wild” ecosystems where natural or

    near-natural ecological processes such as predator-prey dynamics remain largely intact.53 The large contiguous and

    connected areas that support these natural ecosystems provide critical habitat for a wide variety of species. These

    areas are valued locally, provincially, nationally and globally, and efforts have been made to map and characterize

    them by various organizations and agencies. Protected areas and the natural and semi-natural matrix, where they

    exist, can be combined to retain large contiguous or connected areas.

    Natural matrix conditions occur in de facto natural areas that are not specifically dedicated to the protection

    of biological values but in their current state contribute significantly to biodiversity conservation. In terrestrial

    ecosystems, this includes large areas where resource development (like timber harvesting) is not occurring or

    expected to occur, usually due to economic or physical inoperability. These areas, however, could be used for con-

    sumptive uses in the future if the value of the resource increases sufficiently or the technology becomes available

    to access them more economically.

    Protected areas are generally too small to maintain mobile species such as large carnivores which require large

    home ranges, and therefore it is critical to consider what happens outside of protected areas. Therefore, retaining large

    contiguous or connected natural areas is important to conserving species with large home ranges. Large connected

    areas may also be the best way to address the conservation of biodiversity in this era of rapid climate change.

    Key supporting concepts:


    protected area; ecosystem-based


    2 2            f      g                         

    Efforts have been made in B.C. to recognize and conserve some of these large contiguous areas, such as the

    Muskwa-Kechika area in northeastern B.C. These unique values have also been recognized in several northern and

    coastal Land and Resource Management Plans (LRMPs). Regional connectivity strategies intended to provide for

    species migration between protected areas are provided in some LRMPs. It is also important to implement these

    strategies and to monitor their effectiveness.

    To enable large areas to be connected, one important management practice is to mitigate barriers to species

    migration due to obstacles such as highways by providing opportunities for the safe passage of fish and wildlife.

    application 4

    Maintain or emulate natural ecological processes.

    Natural ecological processes shape ecosystems and should be maintained where possible; this includes disturbance

    regimes, hydrological processes, nutrient cycles and biotic interactions that also shape evolutionary processes. Main-

    taining ecological processes helps ensure that dynamic natural ecosystems continue to function and can promote

    ecological resilience. Natural ecological processes (both biotic and abiotic) should be continued, where practical, by

    minimizing human interference. Where interference occurs, human actions should try to emulate those processes.

    For example, society no longer tolerates some types of disturbances, such as wildfire, where valued timber

    resources could be damaged or human property or life could be threatened. Yet wildfire is one of the key natural

    disturbances for most terrestrial ecosystems in B.C.’s interior. In these cases, emulating disturbance regimes through

    human actions, like forest harvesting, becomes a necessary surrogate. To be most effective, these practices should

    emulate the natural pattern of leave patches and dead wood as well as removing the fibre that would have been

    lost to naturally occurring fire. Restoring fire in the ecosystem through the use of prescribed fire is an important

    tool but may not be cost-effective or appropriate for many ecosystems in B.C. Other examples of perturbations

    to natural processes include the regulation of water flows by dams constructed to control floods or provide water

    for irrigation in the drier parts of the year. The release of water at critical times such as during fish migration can

    help mitigate these downstream impacts.

    application 5

    Manage landscapes and communities to be responsive to environmental change.

    Disturbances are a key source of environmental change. Natural disturbances can significantly affect ecosystems

    through agents such as insect and disease outbreaks, wildfires, flooding and drought. Ecosystems typically adapt

    to these disturbances in due course and recover naturally when they occur. However, the cumulative effects of

    climate change, increased human settlement and use and other agents of change such as invasive alien species

    Key supporting concepts:

    Ecological resilience; disturbances

    Key supporting concepts:
    Ecological resilience; disturbances

         g             ,                                     2 3

    can stress ecosystems to the point where they cannot recover from disturbances or recover at a rate that is unac-

    ceptably slow. It is therefore an important principle of planning to create conditions under which ecosystems can

    absorb disturbances and remain resilient.54 Most importantly, that means ensuring that the full complement of

    existing species and processes is maintained so the ecosystem can heal itself, and avoiding placing so much stress

    on a local ecosystem that it is unable to recover naturally.

    Climate change, to cite one example of human-induced stress, is likely to alter the historic NRV. Actions to

    facilitate the adaptation of biodiversity and ecosystems to climate change may include the development of eco-

    logical connectivity.55 In addition to maintaining connectivity where they can be identified, and given that most

    of B.C. remains under Crown ownership, one effective and available strategy is to manage the matrix so that it

    resembles natural conditions, thereby making it less hostile and more permeable to dispersing organisms. Actions

    that recognize that ‘the matrix matters’56 can help facilitate connectivity in the landscape, including the movement

    of organisms between protected areas.57

    Atypical catastrophic disturbance events such as floods, fire and insect infestation can occur unexpectedly.

    Contingency or emergency planning for such disasters can not only save human lives and property but also can

    help ensure our response facilitates ecosystem recovery and does not inadvertently exacerbate impacts on biodi-

    versity. For example, salvage harvesting activities in areas affected by the mountain pine beetle should consider

    retention strategies that provide biological legacies needed to help ensure species persistence. It is also important

    to mitigate the impacts of increased harvesting and road building on forest fragmentation and watershed hydrol-

    ogy, including stream flow and stream quality. When dealing with unexpected yet consequential events, it is vital

    to consider how our response might assist or harm biodiversity.

    As discussed under Concept 5 (ecological resilience), the natural ability of ecosystems to respond to distur-

    bances is particularly important for ecosystem renewal and reorganization. A range of responses provides adaptive

    capacity in a world of complex systems, uncertainty, and human-dominated environments that contributes to the

    resilience of desired ecosystem states following disturbance and management. Ecosystems with high response

    diversity provide a buffer that helps prevent system collapse due to decisions that may have uncertain outcomes. In

    some examples, a decrease in response diversity is associated with a higher level of disturbances such as when toxic

    chemicals are released into a lake that eliminate bacteria that are critical to maintaining the nitrogen cycle.58

    2             f      g                         

    application 6

    Manage towards viable populations of native species.

    Maintaining viable populations of all native species helps ensure that extinction thresholds are not reached. Most

    thresholds become apparent at a point where it is too late to intervene. Therefore providing habitats that sustain

    populations well above minimum viable populations lessens the risk of extinction. It is generally more expensive

    to recover a population that is threatened or endangered than it is to avert population collapses caused by cross-

    ing threshold levels.

    Providing viable populations of a species well distributed across its natural range (or across the appropriate

    environments dictated by climate changes) helps ensure that genetic variability within populations is conserved.

    This may be particularly important given evolving conditions, such as climate change that can affect a species.

    The best strategy to “keep common species common” is through coarse-filter approaches that represent native

    ecosystems in protected areas while encouraging management practices in the surrounding matrix that maintain

    the composition, structure and function of natural ecosystems. These efforts will help ensure that natural patterns

    and abundance of habitat and associated native species remain viable.

    application 7

    Preserve rare landscape elements, critical habitats and features, and associated species.

    We often recognize distinctive features in an area that are uncommon but to which other organisms respond.

    We tend to give these features different names such as “rare landscape elements,” which include ecological com-

    munities of conservation concern that are identified in B.C. by the Conservation Data Centre. ‘Critical habitats’

    are geographic areas that are essential to conserve species of conservation concern or the maintenance of viable

    populations. Examples include forested areas that provide arboreal lichen needed by mountain caribou for their

    winter survival and estuaries that provide critical habitat for salmon fry as they gradually adjust to the increased

    salinity of water in the open ocean as well as to new food resources and predators. ‘Critical features’ are compo-

    nents of habitat that are needed to help conserve species of conservation concern and maintain viable populations.

    Examples include clean gravel for spawning cutthroat trout, wildlife trees used by cavity nesters, and caves used

    by bats. Biological legacies are critical features that remain on a site or landscape after a natural disturbance and

    can be ‘lifeboats’ that facilitate the persistence of species. For forested ecosystems, these legacies include live and

    dead trees and coarse woody debris.

    Key supporting concepts:

    Native species; population


    coarse and fine filter approach

    Key supporting concepts:

    Keystone; disturbances;

    coarse and fine filter approach

         g             ,                                     2 

    Coarse-filter approaches may not be sufficient to preserve rare or critical elements, habitat and features that

    may be essential to conserving biodiversity. Consequently, it is important to assess whether fine-filter “gaps” in

    conservation occur despite coarse-filter efforts.

    Appropriate management practices can help ensure the persistence of landscape elements, critical habitats

    and features. An example is urban development planning that designs and secures riparian conservation zones

    to maintain fish habitat and wildlife corridors. In forestry, wildlife trees retained following harvesting can provide

    habitat for cavity nesting birds, while large pieces of coarse woody debris may be important to maintaining rodent

    populations that are a key component of the predator-prey food chain in many landscapes.

    The coordinated, planned location of rare landscape elements, critical habitats and features along with other

    reserves and designations for conservation across the landscape helps optimize conservation efforts while mini-

    mizing impacts on resource use.

    application 8

    Minimize the introduction and spread of invasive alien species that disrupt ecological resilience and popula-

    tion variability.

    Some invasive alien species can out-compete native species, thereby lowering the population levels of native spe-

    cies and impacting their viability. The reduction in native species caused by invasive alien species can in turn

    impact the food chain that supports other forms of native species. For example, the spread of knapweed in over

    40,000 hectares of B.C.’s grasslands and open forests has reduced their forage potential by up to 90%. If left un-

    checked, knapweed could spread to over 1 million hectares of grassland and open forests in B.C.59 Another ex-

    ample is the introduction of alien fish species that can eliminate native amphibian populations in small lakes. The

    key management lessons here, repeated over and over in recent decades are: do not willfully introduce alien spe-

    cies (never assume they will be beneficial), and intervene early to eradicate them once their presence is known.

    Invasive alien species are considered the second-most serious factor responsible for the extinction of native species

    and loss of biodiversity, worldwide, after habitat loss. Climate change is expected to increase the capacity of existing

    invasive alien species to invade natural ecosystems and to allow new invasive alien species to establish in B.C.60

    The Invasive Plant Strategy for B.C.61 recommends solutions for the “top ten” challenges to invasive plant man-

    agement in B.C. including improving cooperation, providing necessary resources, enacting legislation, improving

    compliance, increasing management effort, coordinating a system for early detection and eradication, establishing

    a comprehensive inventory, ensuring a regional approach is taken, improving technical expertise and undertaking

    coordinated research.

    Key supporting concepts:

    Native species; keystone;

    ecological resilience,

    population viability.

    2 6            f      g                         

    3.2 Planning Applications

    Conservation of biodiversity cannot be effectively achieved without understanding the needs of, and consulting

    with, users of lands and waters to achieve solutions that conserve biodiversity. This requires proactive planning

    approaches (or tools) for biodiversity that can be effectively integrated with existing strategic and local-level plan-

    ning processes.

    application 9

    Set objectives and targets for biodiversity in plans.

    Managing by objectives is key to conserving biodiversity. If we don’t know “where we want to go”, how can we as-

    sess success or failure? For example, at the strategic level, in order to keep common species common and prevent

    loss of native species, three broad objectives could include:

    • representing the range of natural ecosystem types in protected areas;

    • providing the amount and distribution of habitats important to sustain native species; and

    • ensuring that the abundance and distribution of native species are not substantially reduced

    by human activities.

    Measurable indicators (such as the abundance of an indicator species) need to be developed in order to monitor

    whether management objectives are being attained and provide needed “red flags” in situations requiring cor-

    rective action. Forest certification systems generally include the specification of criteria and indicators, as well as

    measurable targets, including those for biodiversity conservation, in order to facilitate monitoring and reporting,

    and to promote

    continuous improvement.

    Objectives, indicators, and targets for biodiversity should be documented in sustainable management plans

    that support resource use activities. Monitoring has to be an integral part of the planning process. Implementation

    monitoring assesses whether the targets are being achieved. Effectiveness monitoring assesses whether the targets

    support the objectives and, if they don’t, provides insight on how the targets should be adjusted.

    application 10

    Manage biodiversity at multiple levels of biological organization and multiple time and spatial scales.62

    Planning processes at a variety of scales can provide the objectives needed to guide management, and cost-effec-

    tive monitoring (not only at local but also at very large scales) can provide the feedback needed to improve the

    objectives or targets or to determine how they are being implemented. This includes planning at the regional,

    Key supporting concepts:

    Keystone; ecosystem-

    based management;

    adaptive management

    Key supporting concepts:
    Levels of biological organization;

    ecosystem-based management


    adaptive management

         g             ,                                     2 

    landscape and ecosystem level. Examples of such planning in B.C. include Sustainable Resource Management

    Plans, site plans for specific resources uses, water use plans, and urban planning.

    application 11

    Incorporate spatial and temporal approaches to land use that are compatible with an area’s natural potential.

    The natural potential of areas to support biodiversity varies: some areas support a wide variety of species, others

    support rare species, and still others support relatively few yet common species. Similarly, the natural potential

    of areas to support agriculture, timber production and other human uses also varies. Providing a mix of land uses,

    ranging from a conservation emphasis to extractive use emphasis, that is consistent with an area’s natural poten-

    tial helps to ensure that societal goals to conserve biodiversity, while providing goods and services, can be simul-

    taneously and sustainably attained. Providing this mix can be accomplished by “zoning” areas in plans – for ex-

    ample, through the resource management zones identified in LRMPs.

    Two general opportunities exist for incorporating biodiversity conservation into management practices in

    sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and urban development. First, management activities that promote

    the complexity of biodiversity can often be more economical than alternative approaches that simplify biodiver-

    sity. For example, regenerating a diversity of species that emulates natural composition following harvesting can

    increase ecosystem resilience to forest pests such as bark beetles, thereby better maintaining commercial timber

    supply. Second, strategies that promote the intensification of production rather than the expansion of the total

    area of production can allow more area for conservation. For example, some urban development allows housing

    to be more concentrated, thereby protecting more green space than is possible through an approach that allows

    urban sprawl to occur, displacing critical habitat (e.g., by draining wetlands).

    application 12

    Avoid land uses that convert natural ecosystems and restore damaged ecosystems.

    Natural ecosystems provide the habitat necessary to maintain biodiversity. Land uses that convert natural ecosys-

    tems over large areas or critical habitats (such as rare Garry oak ecosystems, wetlands or estuaries) can, in turn,

    significantly degrade biodiversity. This includes impacts that disrupt abiotic processes that include soil erosion

    or altering the level of the water table. Because many areas developed for urban and agricultural uses are rich

    biologically, special efforts, for example through careful urban planning, are needed to avoid further loss to criti-

    cal habitats.

    Where ecosystems have been converted or degraded, ecosystem restoration efforts should be made. Ecosystem

    restoration, however, is generally far costlier than protecting the original ecosystem and it is rare that all of the

    Key supporting concepts:

    Ecosystem-based management

    Key supporting concepts:
    Disturbances; connectivity/

    fragmentation; ecosystem-based

    management; risk in decision-making

    2             f      g                         

    biodiversity and services of a system can be restored.63 Nevertheless, in small areas restorative activities can be

    very effective in recovering biodiversity in damaged ecosystems. Recent restoration activities in B.C. have focused

    on a number of key areas including:

    • Restoration of ecosystems in urban and urban fringe areas with high human impact – for instance, Garry

    oak ecosystems on Vancouver Island.

    • In-stream riparian and slope stabilization work aimed at restoring the carrying capacity of watersheds

    for both anadromous (sea-going) and resident fish populations. Populations of the various Pacific

    salmon species have been a particular focus.

    • Restoration of fire to ecosystems where frequent fire historically had a key ecosystem maintenance

    role. These projects have typically involved thinning of over-dense stands and re-introduction of fire

    at appropriate scales and intensities.

    • Restoration of areas where major impacts, such as mine tailings piles, have eliminated most or all natural

    ecosystem components and functions.64

    Restoration in B.C. is increasingly moving from restoration after the fact to restoration as a planned and integral

    part of resource management and development activities.65

    application 13

    Avoid, mitigate or, as a last option, compensate for the effects of human activities on biodiversity.

    Improved valuation techniques and information on ecosystem services tells us that although many individuals

    benefit from the actions and activities that lead to biodiversity loss and ecosystem change, the costs borne by

    society of such changes is often higher. Even in instances where our knowledge of benefits and costs is incomplete,

    the use of the precautionary approach (requiring assurance that harm will not occur) may be warranted when the

    costs associated with ecosystem change may be high or the changes irreversible.66 In these cases, actions that may

    cause irreversible damage, such as species loss, should be avoided.

    When decisions are made that adversely impact ecological processes and biodiversity e.g. creation of reservoirs

    for flood control and hydro-electric generation, the impacts should be minimized and any residual impact should

    be mitigated. If impacts can not be fully mitigated, then compensation for the impact should be completed in off

    site areas to ensure resilient ecosystems that maintain biodiversity.

    Key supporting concepts:

    Ecological resilience;

    disturbances; risk in


         g             ,                                     2 

    application 14

    Employ adaptive management of natural resources to maximize learning.

    Our current knowledge and ability to manage natural resources for biodiversity is full of uncertainty, especially

    with regard to natural environmental variability, human impacts on the environment, understanding of ecosystem

    processes, and variations in social and political goals.67 The short-term impacts of human activity on a few species

    have been well described, but long-term impacts on the vast majority of species (e.g., invertebrates) are poorly

    known. In B.C., recognized knowledge limitations68 include:

    • many species have not been described scientifically (e.g., many invertebrates);

    • species ecology including habitat requirements;

    • ecological processes; and

    • long-term impacts of human activity such as climate change.

    While adaptive management is recognized as important for dealing with problems associated with high levels

    of uncertainty, success in implementing it has been low.69 Some current adaptive management processes rely too

    heavily on linear models, discount non-scientific knowledge and do not incorporate policy processes that could

    support cooperation among various stakeholders.70 In certain situations passive management may be appropri-

    ate and highly informative when there is a high confidence in the ecosystem response or when there are strong

    regulatory or institutional constraints; however, in practice passive adaptive management often evolves into

    “trial and error.”71 Other weaknesses include lack of the monitoring needed to provide the learning necessary for

    continuous improvement.

    Some of the key characteristics of active adaptive management include72:

    • recognize there is a large amount of uncertainty in processes and events;

    • develop a few alternate models or sets of explanations;

    • select the policies or practices to be implemented;

    • define key management and other actions at the necessary scale; and

    • incorporate scientists, stakeholders, politicians and citizens in the learning process.

    To promote learning and continuous improvement in the face of risk and uncertainty, a key management

    premise is ‘not to do the same thing everywhere’ by treating management as an experiment and testing innovative

    approaches. For example, evaluating different configurations and widths of riparian buffers in freshwater systems

    to emulate post-fire patterns in interior forests in B.C. to create diversity and improve learning.

    Key supporting concept:

    Adaptive management;

    ecosystem-based management;

    risk in decision-making

    3             f      g                         

    As adaptive management can be expensive, implementing adaptive management should be targeted to opera-

    tions that provide opportunities to learn the most and inform management.

    The adaptive management cycle supports continuous improvement and consists of the following steps:

    • define: setting objectives and targets;

    • design: planning actions based on existing objectives and targets, knowledge, technology and inven-


    • implement: acting based on those plans;

    • monitor: checking the effects of those actions; and

    • evaluate: assessing the results of implementation actions which can lead to new knowledge;

    • adjust: revising targets or planning actions where needed to better meet objectives;73

    • incorporate: incorporating results into future management decisions.

    application 15

    Given that humans are a powerful agent of change, make science-based decisons.

    Biodiversity provides the natural capital needed to sustain human well-being, and is currently under profound

    stress from human use and human-driven climate change. It is clear that our efforts today to conserve biodiversity

    will help ensure its values are passed on to future generations, and that the need for action is urgent.

    We need to start by examining the impacts of decisions at all scales – local, regional and global and develop

    integrated approaches. Decision-making for biodiversity should be neither top-down nor bottom-up – rather,

    considerations need to be mindful of impacts at multiple scales. The objectives provided provincially, strategically

    and tactically for biodiversity conservation should provide context to local decision-making. At the same time,

    learning from local decisions, including the application of innovative approaches, may result in modifying higher

    level objectives to be more congruent with effective biological conservation practices on-the-ground.

    For example, on the east coast of Canada, cumulative local decisions to fish for Atlantic cod by targeting large

    individuals have led to a human-induced genetic evolutionary shift to small-sized cod. Indications are that it may

    be very difficult to recover the genetic diversity of cod populations following depletion.74 Noting these trends lo-

    cally and early by monitoring impacts could have informed higher level decisions to change fishing regulations

    and avert these long-term genetic impacts. This example illustrates how humans can be powerful agents of natural

    selection and how decision-making informed by science and sound monitoring can produce decisions that work

    for the good of biodiversity and of the long-term interest of communities that depend on its conservation.

    Key supporting concept:

    Levels of biological organization;
    ecosystem-based management

         g             ,                                     3 

    A global concern is rapid climate change, that will have significant implications to biodiversity conservation.

    Our decisions or actions locally to reduce emissions in our household and in our community can, through cumu-

    lative actions of many individuals and many communities, help to reduce the rate of climate change. These local

    actions can augment needed regulatory and policy changes that are actively under consideration in B.C. and other

    jurisdictions. The existing and potential impacts of climate change illustrate more than any other current issue

    the relevance of the slogan “think globally, act locally”, but the same holds true for any other human activity with

    the potential either to diminish or enhance the value of biodiversity in our province.

    3 2      g             ,                                    


    Adaptation: any feature of an organism that substantially
    improves its ability to survive and leave more offspring. Also,
    the process of a species’ or a population’s genetic variability
    changing due to natural selection in a manner that improves
    its viability.

    Alien species: a species occurring in an area outside its
    historically known natural range as a result of intentional or
    accidental dispersal by humans (i.e., movement of individuals)
    or direct human activities that remove a natural barrier (e.g.,
    creation of a fish ladder to allow fish to move past a waterfall).
    Also known as an exotic or introduced species.

    Biota: the animal and plant life of a region.

    Carbon sequestration: the processes that remove carbon from
    the atmosphere. Natural carbon sequestration processes
    include plant growth. A variety of means of artificially
    capturing and storing carbon, as well as enhancing natural
    sequestration processes, are being explored in an effort to
    mitigate global warming due to climate change. Many of
    these efforts are associated with the Kyoto Protocol to the
    United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,
    which is an amendment to the international treaty on
    climate change, where mandatory targets for the reduction
    of greenhouse gas emissions are assigned to signatory

    Climate variability: variations in the mean state and other
    statistics of climatic features on temporal and spatial
    scales beyond those of individual weather events. These
    often are due to internal processes within the climate
    system. Examples of cyclical forms of climate variability
    include El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Pacific
    Decadal Variability (PDV ). Climate change is a statistically
    significant variation in either the mean state of the climate
    or in its variability, persisting for an extended time period
    (typically decades or longer). Climate change may be due
    to natural forces including changes in solar radiation and
    volcanic eruptions, or persistent human-induced changes
    in atmospheric composition or in land use.

    Community : an integrated group of living organisms
    inhabiting a given part of an ecosystem.

    Conservation concern: globally or provincially critically
    imperilled (G1 or S1), imperilled (G2 or S2), or vulnerable
    (G3 or S3). Species of global conservation concern are ranked
    G1 to G3. Species of provincial conservation concern are
    ranked S1 to S3.

    Ecological processes: actions or events that shape ecosystems
    such as disturbances, predation, competition, nutrient and
    element cycling such as carbon sequestration.

    g       

    Ecosystem: is a dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-
    organism communities and their abiotic environment, all
    interacting as a functional unit.

    Endemic: found only in a specified geographic region.

    Gene: the functional unit of heredity; the part of the DNA
    molecule that encodes a single enzyme or structural protein

    Gene flow: the transfer of genes from one population or locality
    to another.

    Genetic variability: the variety and relative abundance of
    genes within a particular species, variety, or breed.

    Habitat: the natural environment in which an organism
    normally lives.

    Hybridization: crossing of individuals from genetically
    different strains, populations, or species.

    Indicator species: a species whose status provides information
    on the overall condition of the ecosystem or of other species
    in that ecosystem.

    Landscape: an expanse of territory with characteristics that
    set it apart from other areas (e.g., watersheds).

    Matrix: the complex of natural, semi-natural and domesticated
    lands and waters in the landscape within which protected
    areas are embedded.

    Organism: an individual plant or animal.

    Patch: in landscape ecology, a particular unit with identifiable
    boundaries that differs from its surroundings in one or
    more ways.

    Population: a group of individuals with common ancestry that
    are much more likely to mate with one another than with
    individuals from another such group.

    Restoration: the return of an ecosystem or habitat to its
    original community structure, natural complement of
    species, and natural functions.

    Selection: natural selection is the differential contribution of
    offspring to the next generation by various genetic types
    belonging to the same populations.

    Species: in most living organisms, each species generally
    represent a complete, self-generating, unique ensemble of
    genetic variation, capable of interbreeding and producing
    fertile offspring.

    Species diversity: a function of the distribution and abundance
    of species.

    Species richness: the number of species within a specified

    Stability: a function of several characteristics of community
    or ecosystem dynamics, including the degree of population
    fluctuations, the community’s resistance to disturbances, the
    speed of recovery from disturbances, and the persistence of
    the community’s composition through time.

    Sustainable use: the management of human interactions with
    genes, species, and ecosystems so as to provide the maximum
    benefit to the present generation while maintaining their
    potential to meet the needs and aspirations of future

    3       g             ,                                    

  • Notes
  • 1 J.F. Franklin, K. Cromack, Jr., W. Denison, A. McKee, C.

    Maser, J. Sedell, F. Swanson, and G. Juday. 1981. Ecological
    characteristics of old-growth Douglas-fir forests. USDA Forest
    Service. General Technical Report PNW-118. Pacific Northwest
    Forest and Range Experiment Station, Portland, Oregon.

    2 Green Facts: facts on health and the environment. 2005.
    Adapted from Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Available

    3 B.C. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, and Ministry
    of Forests. Biodiversity in British Columbia. Available at: www.

    4 As presented at the 1992 United Nations Conference on
    Environment and Development (UNCED) and summarized
    by Bunnell, F.L. 1998. Managing forests to sustain biodiversity:
    substituting accomplishment for motion. Forestry Chronicle
    74: 822-827.

    5 See endnote 4.
    6 Adapted from Figure 1.1, p.14 in Global Biodiversity Outlook

    2. 2006. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
    (2006) Global Biodiversity Outlook 2. Montreal, 81 + vii pages.

    7 K. Poiani, B. Richter, M. Anderson and H. Richter. 2000.
    Biodiversity conservation at multiple scales: functional sites,
    landscapes, and networks. BioScience 50(2): 133-146.

    8 Bunnell, F.L. and D.J. Huggard. 1999. Biodiversity across spatial
    and temporal scales: problems and opportunities. Forest
    Ecology & Management 115(2/3): 113-126.

    9 Holling, C.S. 2001. Understanding the complexity of economic,
    ecological, and social systems. Ecosystems (2001) 4: 390-405.

    10 Forest Biodiversity Definitions. Convention on Biological
    Diversity. Available at:

    11 Ibid.
    12 About Eurasian Watermilfoil. Okanagan Basin Waterboard.

    Available at:
    13 Dykstra, P. R. 2004. Thresholds in Habitat Supply: A Review

    of the Literature. B.C. Ministry of Sustainable Resource
    Management and Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection.
    Wildlife Report No R-27.

    14 Stockner, J. (ed.). 2003. Nutrients in salmonid ecosystems:
    sustaining production and biodiversity. American Fisheries
    Society Symposium 34. Bethesda, Maryland. 302pp.

    15 The sea otter example is discussed in detail in: Farr A.C.M. and
    F.L. Bunnell. 1980. The sea otter in British Columbia―a problem
    or opportunity? Pp. 110-128 in R. Stace-Smith, L. Johns and P.
    Joslin (eds.). Threatened and Endangered Species and Habitats
    in British Columbia and the Yukon. BC Fish and Wildlife
    Branch, BC Ministry of Environment, Victoria, BC.

    16 See:
    17 Naiman, R.J., H. Décamps, M.E. McClain and G.E. Likens.

    2005. Riparia: ecology, conservation, and management of
    streamside communities. Academic Press. 430pp.

    18 Pojar, J. 2003. Biodiversity in the CIT Region. Available at:

    19 Kevan, P.G. 1991. Pollination: keystone process in sustainable
    global productivity. Acta Horticulturae (ISHS) 288: 103-110.
    Available at:

    20 See endnote 14.
    21 See endnote 14.
    22 Haeussler, S., A. MacKinnon, D. Meidinger, G. O’Neill and

    S. Simard. 2006. Managing B.C.’s forest and rangeland
    ecosystems to achieve ecological resilience. Prepared for J.
    Snetsinger et al. 2006. Future Forest Ecosystems of B.C.: Draft
    Recommendations for Review and Comment. 2006. B.C.
    Ministry of Forests and Range.

    23 Peterson, G., C.R. Allen and C. Holling. 1998. Ecological
    resilience, biodiversity, and scale. Ecosystems 1:6-18.

    24 Ibid.
    25 Elmqvist, T., C. Folke, M. Nyström, G. Peterson, J. Bengtsson,

    B. Walker, and J. Norberg. 2003. Response diversity, ecosystem
    change, and resilience. Frontiers in Ecology and the
    Environment 1(9): 488-494.

    26 Ibid.
    27 B.C. Ministry of Forests and Range. Glossary of Forestry Terms.

    Available at:

    28 White, P.S. and J. L. Walker. 1997. Approximating Nature’s
    Variation: Selecting and Using Reference Information in
    Restoration Ecology. Restoration Ecology 5(4): 338-349.

    29 Tischendorf, L. and L. Fahrig. 2000. On the usage and
    measurement of landscape connectivity. Oikos 90(1): 7-19.

    30 Andren H. 1994. Effects of habitat fragmentation on birds and
    mammals in landscapes with different proportions of suitable
    habitat: a review. Oikos 71(3): 355-366.

         3 

    31 Parminter, J. (co-author and co-editor). 1995. Biodiversity
    guidebook – Forest Practices Code of British Columbia. B.C.
    Ministry of Forests and B.C. Ministry of Environment, Victoria,
    B.C. ix + 99 p. Available at:

    32 Herbers, J. and R. Serrouya. 2003. Habitat Attributes on
    Riverside’s TFL 49. Final Report. Prepared for Riverside Forest

    33 B.C. Ministry of Forests. 1999. Managing Risk within a
    Statutory Framework. 55pp.

    34 Walters, C.J. 1986. Adaptive Management of Renewable
    Resources. Macmillan, New York, New York, USA. 374pp.

    35 Walters, C.J. and C.S. Holling. 1990. Large-scale management
    experiments and learning by doing. Ecology 71: 2060-2068.

    36 Stankey, George H.; Clark, Roger N.; Bormann, Bernard T. 2005.
    Adaptive management of natural resources: theory, concepts,
    and management institutions. General Technical Report PNW-
    GTR-654. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest
    Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 73pp.

    37 Coast Information Team. 2004. Ecosystem-based Management
    Framework. 15pp. Available at:

    38 Schlaepfer, R. 1997. Ecosystem-Based Management of Natural
    Resources: A Step Towards Sustainable Development. IUFRO
    Occasional Paper No. 6. Arbora Publishers, Slovakia. 30pp.

    39 Bunnell, F.L. 1998. Setting goals for biodiversity in managed
    forests. Pp. 117-153 in F.L. Bunnell, and J.F. Johnson. The
    Living Dance: Policy and practices for biodiversity in managed
    forests. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, BC.

    40 MacArthur, R.H. and E.O. Wilson. 1967. The Theory of Island
    Biogeography. Princeton University Press. But see also:
    Bunnell, F.L. 1999. What habitat is an island? Pp. 1-31 in J.
    A. Rochelle, L. A. Lehmann and J. Wisniewski (eds.). Forest
    Fragmentation: Wildlife and Management Implications. Brill,
    Leiden, Netherlands. 340pp.

    41 Bunnell, F.L., K. A. Squires, M. I Preston, and R. W.
    Campbell. 2005. Towards a general model of avian response
    to climate change. Pp. 59-70 in Implications of Climate
    Change in BC’s Southern interior forests. Workshop, April
    26-27,2005, Revelstoke, BC, Columbia Mountains Institute
    of Applied Ecology. Available at:

    42 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Climate Change
    2001: Synthesis Report. Available at:

    43 Adapted from J.F. Franklin. 1993. Preserving biodiversity:
    species, ecosystems, or landscapes? Ecological Applications
    3(2): 202-205.

    44 For examples of how biodiversity hotspots are used outside of
    B.C. see Conservation International Biodiversity Hotspots at

    45 Meir, E., S. Andelman and H.P. Possingham. Does conservation
    planning matter in a dynamic and uncertain world? Ecology
    Letters (2004) 7: 615-622.

    46 Finding # 5 in Ecosystem and Human Well-Being: Biodiversity

    Synthesis. 2005. A report of the Millennium Ecosystem
    Assessment sponsored by the UN. Available at: ma.caudillweb.

    47 Lewis, K. and S. Westmacott. 1996. A Protected Areas Strategy
    for British Columbia: Provincial Overview Status Report. Land
    Use Coordination Office. Province of B.C.

    48 Howes, D., J.R. Harper and E.H. Owens. 1994. British Columbia
    physical shore-zone mapping system. B.C. Resources
    Inventory Committee, Victoria, BC. 70pp.

    49 Thomson, R.E. 1981. Oceanography of the British Columbia
    Coast. Canadian Special Publication of Fisheries and Aquatic
    Sciences 56. Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
    Ottawa, Ont. 291pp.

    50 AXYS. 2001. British Columbia Marine Ecological
    Classification Update. Final Report. Submitted to Land
    Use Coordination Office, by AXYS Environmental
    Consulting Ltd., in association with John Roff & Ellen
    Hines. 33pp. Available at:

    51 Howes, D.E., M.A. Zachaias, and J.R. Harper. 1997. British
    Columbia Marine Ecological Classification: Marine
    Ecosections and Ecounits. Resources Inventory Committee
    Approved Standard. Available at:

    52 Ciruna, K.A., B. Butterfield, J.D. McPhail and B.C. Ministry
    of Environment. 2007. EAU BC: Ecological Aquatic Units of
    British Columbia. Nature Conservancy of Canada, Toronto,
    ON. 200pp plus DVD-ROM.

    53 Laliberte, A. and W. Ripple. 2004. Range contractions of North
    American carnivores and ungulates. BioScience 54: 123-138.

    54 Future Forest Ecosystems of B.C.: Draft Recommendations
    for Review and Comment. June 2006. Prepared by the FFE
    Initiative Team.

    55 Finding #5 in Ecosystem and Human Well-Being: Biodiversity
    Synthesis. 2005. A report of the Millennium Ecosystem
    Assessment sponsored by the UN. Available at: ma.caudillweb.

    56 Ricketts, T.H. 2001. The matrix matters: effective isolation in
    fragmented landscapes. The American Naturalist. 158: 87-99.

    57 See endnote 43.



    3 6      g             ,                                    

    58 See endnote 24.
    59 B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. Pest Management:

    Knapweed – Its Cost to British Columbia. Available at: www.

    60 Fraser Basin Council. Invasive Plant Strategy for British
    Columbia. Available at:

    61 Ibid.
    62 From Biodiversity and Forest Management in British

    Columbia. Scale of Management. Available at: www.

    63 Ibid.
    64 Society for Ecological Restoration, B.C. Chapter. Available at:
    65 Ibid.
    66 Finding #3 in Ecosystem and Human Well-Being: Biodiversity

    Synthesis. 2005. A report of the Millennium Ecosystem
    Assessment sponsored by the UN. Available at: ma.caudillweb.

    67 Sit, V. and B. Taylor (eds.). 1998. Statistical Methods for
    Adaptive Management Studies. Research Branch, B.C. Ministry
    of Forests, Land Management Handbook. No. 42.

    68 Adapted from Biodiversity and Forest Management in British
    Columbia. Knowledge Limitations. Available at: www.

    69 Walters, C. 1997. Challenges in adaptive management of
    riparian and coastal ecosystems. Conservation Ecology 2:1-23.

    70 McLain, R. J., and R.G. Lee. 1996. Adaptive management:
    promises and pitfalls. Environmental Management 20:

    71 Gregory, R., D. Ohlson and J. Arvai. 2006. Deconstructing
    adaptive management: criteria for applications to
    environmental management. Ecological Applications, 16:

    72 See endnote 67.
    73 Murray, C. and D.R. Marmorek. 2004. Adaptive Management:

    A Spoonful of Rigour Helps the Uncertainty Go Down. 16th
    International Meeting of the Society of Ecological Restoration.
    Victoria, Aug 13-27, 2004.

    74 Law, R. 2001. Phenotypic and genetic changes due to selective
    exploitation. Pp. 323-342 in Reynolds, J.D., G.M. Mace,
    K.H. Redford and J.G. Robinson, J.G. (eds.). Conservation of
    Exploited Species. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,

                      3 

    3       g             ,                                    

    “To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution

    of intelligent tinkering.” — a l d o l e o p o l d

    Printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper, processed chlorine free
    Design: Alaris Design

    • Table of Contents
    • Acknowledgements

    • About this document
    • 1 What is Biodiversity?
    • 1.1 Defining Biodiversity
      1.2 The Value of Biodiversity to Humans
      2 Ecological Principles
      2.1 Ecological Concepts
      2.1.1 Ecosystem Concepts
      2.1.2 Ecosystem Management Concepts
      2.2 Ecological Principles

    • 3 Application of Ecological Concepts and Principles
    • 3.1 Coarse and fine filter applications:
      3.2 Planning Applications

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