British Columbia releases draft Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health Framework that provides direction to maintain, enhance biodiversity; creating a plan was part of recommendations for province to change how it manages, logs forests with old-growth trees

Sample article from our Government & Public Policy

November 29, 2023 (press release) –

The Province is taking more steps to conserve nature for the long-term health and well-being of communities with the release of a draft biodiversity and ecosystem health framework.

“People in B.C. share a deep connection to nature, from our ancient forests and diverse wildlife, to our coastal waters and mountain ranges,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. “Together, we are charting the next steps for conserving B.C.’s rich biodiversity and healthy ecosystems that support us all.”

B.C. has the greatest diversity of species, ecosystems and habitats of any jurisdiction in Canada. The resilience of the province depends on an integrated and inclusive approach to stewarding B.C.’s water, land and natural resources.

The framework is another action the Province is taking as part of ongoing work to improve stewardship of B.C.’s lands, forests and water, to implement the recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review and to honour B.C.’s commitments under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

“Our government is building comprehensive and integrated initiatives to protect the environment, including conservation financing, our accelerated action to protect old-growth forests and our commitment to conserve 30% of B.C.’s land base by 2030,” Cullen said. “All these efforts are fundamental to protecting against the worst effects of climate change and creating a healthier future for everyone.”

The draft framework was developed through engagement throughout 2023 with First Nations and other parties, including industry, non-governmental organizations, local communities, municipal leaders and academia.

The Province is formally consulting with First Nations Rights and Title Holders, and engaging with multiple natural resource sectors and industry, as well as local governments, and other partners on the draft framework.

Members of the public can access the draft framework here:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/plants-animals-ecosystems/biodiversity/bc-s-draft-biodiversity-and-ecosystem-health-framework
Provide comments by contacting: biodiversity.ecosystemhealth@gov.bc.ca

The framework is expected to be finalized in early 2024, following consultation. B.C. will co-develop new or update existing legislation to achieve the vision and intent of the framework.

Quotes:

Garry Merkel, co-author, Old Growth Strategic Review –

“The biodiversity and ecosystem health framework provides a clear strategy for establishing the management and conservation of ecosystem health and biodiversity as an overarching priority for British Columbia. Achieving this priority will result in a new stewardship approach for land and water, which, in turn, requires an essential prerequisite — a deep change in our thinking about land. This paradigm shift that will be accelerated by the implementation of this framework and will help guide us toward a much more certain and stable social and economic relationship with lands, waters and the resources that they provide.”

Chief Harry F. Nyce Sr., co-chair, Minister’s Wildlife Advisory Council (MWAC) –

The Minister’s Wildlife Advisory Council endorses the draft biodiversity and ecosystem health framework for British Columbia. This visionary and collaborative initiative underscores the importance of adopting a co-ordinated, inclusive approach to conserving ecosystem health and biodiversity in our province. The draft framework serves B.C.'s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and highlights the urgent need for a transformative paradigm shift toward shared decision-making, fostering a sustainable, equitable and resilient future.”

Nancy Wilkin, co-chair, Minister’s Wildlife Advisory Council –

MWAC has been involved in shaping this framework and commends the ministry’s commitment to transparency, co-operation and adaptive, ecosystem-based management and stewardship – all of which are vital in our journey toward a healthy environment, stable communities and prosperous economies. MWAC looks forward to continued involvement as the framework’s detailed implementation plan and enabling legislation are developed.”

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy –

“Ecosystem health and biodiversity are deeply connected to our own well-being. We are proud to work with our federal partners and the First Nations Leadership Council on this initiative as we protect beautiful British Columbia.”

Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests –

“Forests are at the heart of our identity here in B.C., and essential to a thriving and diverse ecosystem. We are using the best science and data available, and collaborating with First Nations, local communities, and industry to create stronger, more sustainable forest stewardship. This new framework is another step to enhance our forests and natural systems for the generations to come.”

Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –

“The work we are doing together with First Nations to develop a biodiversity and ecosystems framework centres upon listening and learning from those who have been stewards of the environment for generations. The framework also responds to a key action item in our Declaration Act Action Plan.”

Anne Kang, Minister of Municipal Affairs –

“The conservation of our ecosystems and biodiversity is essential for the health and well-being of communities. That’s why my ministry’s commitment extends not only to investing in locally owned infrastructure, enhancing services for communities, but also to making sure provincial investments safeguard our clean air, land and water resources.”

Learn More:

For information about this work and to read the draft framework, visit the biodiversity and ecosystem health framework website: 
https://www.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/plants-animals-ecosystems/biodiversity/bc-s-draft-biodiversity-and-ecosystem-health-framework

A backgrounder follows.

Backgrounders

Facts about protecting old growth in B.C.

The Province is implementing all 14 recommendations of the independent Old Growth Strategic Review report, including Recommendation No. 2, which calls on the Province to declare the conservation and management of ecosystem health and biodiversity of B.C.’s forests as an overarching priority and enact legislation that legally establishes this priority for all sectors.

  • In December 2022, the Province announced its commitment to protecting 30% of B.C.’s land base by 2030.
  • On Oct. 26, 2023, B.C. announced a new $300-million Conservation Financing Mechanism – $150 million from the Province, matched by a commitment to raise an additional $150 million from the BC Parks Foundation.
  • On Nov. 3, 2023, the Tripartite Framework Agreement on Nature Conservation was signed by B.C., Canada and the First Nations Leadership Council.
    • The agreement represents the alignment of investment of more than $1 billion over eight years.
    • Of the $1 billion, $500 million will be provided by the Province and the remaining $500 million by the federal government.

 

 

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