June 2010 issue
Within the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, natural riches such as bats, glacier lilies and anemones co-exist with an economy built on aquaculture, logging and ecotourism.
Photo: iStockphoto.com/David Elfstrom
||Discover more about Clayoquot Sound’s rare species, biosphere reserve and eco-tourism hotspots in this interactive map.
Click to view interactive map
||Discover videos, interactive features and photos on the ideas, science and communities behind our biodiversity issue.
What is Biodiversity?
The word invokes the splendour of our world. In 2010 we celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity, yet many living things are in imminent danger of going extinct. Read more
Biosphere Reserves such as Clayoquot Sound aim to prove that rich natural environments go hand-in-hand with vibrant economies. Read more
From studying slugs to searching for swans and monitoring pine martens, citizen scientists keep watch over our changing world. Read more
50 Million Trees
Ontario has an ambitious plan to reforest the most populated part of Canada. But first it must grapple with landowners and fragmented landscapes. Read more
Goodbye Tallgrass Prairie
Once covering 6,000 square kilometres in Manitoba’s Red River Valley, the tallgrass prairie has all but vanished from the Canadian landscape.
Are “invasive” species hitching rides to new habitats all that bad for our ecosystems? Read more
Gerard Daechsel lives as a freegan, an anti-consumerist who forages necessities from what others throw away.
The Jordan Basin
Six years ago, an ecologically rich wedge of ocean in the northern Gulf of Maine became Canada’s first marine biodiversity showcase. Has it lived up to its promise? Read more
Discover videos, interactive features and photo essays mapping the ideas, science and communities behind our biodiversity issue.
Biodiversity is a soup-to-nuts
term that encompasses all manner of
species. But does it also include humans?
Biosphere reserves, designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific,
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), aim to prove that rich natural environments
can exist alongside built-up communities. There are 551 designated
sites worldwide, 15 in Canada, all aspiring to be showcases for conservation and sustainable development.
The difference between a biosphere reserve and a national
park is in how the reserve is set up. A biosphere reserve incorporates
three sections: a core zone in which the natural
environment is protected and scientific research is limited;
a buffer zone that allows for activities that are compatible
with conservation, such as ecotourism and education; and
a transition zone in which people live and work.
Canada’s biosphere reserves can be found in eight
provinces and include the Charlevoix region in Quebec,
the Thousand Islands region in Ontario and Redberry Lake
in Saskatchewan. Perhaps the richest in terms of sheer
biomass is in Clayoquot Sound, an inlet on the west coast
of Vancouver Island. UNESCO declared 3,500 square kilometres
of Clayoquot Sound a biosphere reserve in January
2000, citing its tundra, reaching 900 metres above sea level,
intertidal zones, marine environments and freshwater streams
that rush to the sea.
|Explore Clayoquot Sound’s rare species and ecotourism.|
Home to thousands of marine and terrestrial plants and animals and a
human population of 7,848, Clayoquot Sound is cherished for its unlogged
old-growth rain forests. Orcas and grey whales frequent the waters off the
island, yellow glacier lilies grow on the mountains, and seven species of bats
hunt insects by moonlight.
|Clayoquot Sound’s economy is based on aquaculture, logging, seaweed harvesting and, increasingly, tourism.
In the biosphere’s transition zone, Clayoquot Sound’s economy
is based on aquaculture, logging, seaweed harvesting
and, increasingly, tourism. The area welcomes some one million
visitors annually who not only inject money into the local
economy but also learn about the biomes found in the reserve.
Few studies to date have examined how well biospheres
reconcile the inevitable trade-offs between conservation and
development. One study in the Yancheng Biosphere Reserve
in eastern China found an increase in the number of
red-crowned cranes in the core zone. But the cranes’ range
has collapsed, because their supporting wetland system is
being squeezed by development in the transition zone.
While it is not clear that biosphere reserves effectively
protect species diversity, they are worthy and necessary experiments,
says Josie Osborne, executive director of the Raincoast
Education Society. “We should rely on the biosphere reserve
designation,” she says, “to constantly ask ourselves whether
we can do things better here, live with a lighter footprint and
maintain, maybe even improve, species diversity.”
Related content and resources:
View a gallery of Eamon Mac Mahon’s photos of Canada’s forests and read a
interview with the photographer.
50 Million Trees
Get involved in your community with Ontario’s 50 Million Tree Program
. Donate or organize your own plant, because every tree counts.
Return to the Wild
Explore and learn more about the diversity of Canada’s wildlife in the Return to the Wild
|Comments on this article||View all comments (12) | Leave a comment|
Citizen scientist can submit wildlife and plant sightings into community database at 'Wildlife & Plant Sightings' www.junponline.com
Sightings data are organized into basic reports and easily searchable.
Amateur to professional can contrinute their citizen science here.
This story requires the eyes of an ornithologist on the water counting birds. Birds as indicators tell us about the world below. Having just returned from the Jordan Basin region I can attest to the rich Biodiversity that I saw as I counted birds. Dovekie, N. Fulmar, Greater Shearwater..... This Bioregion is important to both the United States and Canada. It behooves all of us to work together diligently to understand this region of the Ocean. Remember also that it is our RIVER Ecosystems connected to the Gulf of Maine that ultimately determine the biodiversity of the GOM.
Pollution in the GOM is a death sentence. Dioxins and mercury must be removed from the Penobscot River and all streams and culverts must be reconnected to the SEA-RUN FISH.. These are the Keystone Species of the GOM and determine the Health of both the United States and Canadian people.
Good article, but most professional foresters will recongnize that most of the photos do not depict an old growth forests, but a variety of second growth or fire-origin sites.
With respect to the statistics Candace quotes from the Int'l Union for Conservation of Nature Red List Is it 12% of all birds or 12% of all species of birds. Quite a different number I would think.
The excellent article by Fraser Los entitled “50 million trees” is welcome. While the article focuses on Ontario Government plans to reforest Southern Ontario the author also mentions efforts being undertaken in Northern Ontario. To expand on these remarks…
The Forest Health and Silvicultural Section of the Ministry of Natural Resources advises “in 2008, approximately 92 million trees were planted in Ontario, with 49.8 million of these in the Northwest Region”. Survival rates for Pine Spruce are typically 80 to 85% in the Thunder Bay area and are affected by lack of rain, higher temperatures and frost. Tree plant numbers for 2009 will be available in March 2011.
As one flies or takes a survol by Google over the vast expanse of Northern Ontario, one can’t help but wonder about the sustainability of the Boreal Forest. For example, in some areas notably near the Ogoki reservoir, there are any number of 10,000 hectare clearcuts. Huge areas are unplanted and without sufficient seed trees left standing for natural regeneration. Considerable piles of over cut and uncollected wood lie north of Armstrong. As forest tenure is being renogiated, often with the same companies that have left this mess, Northerners can’t help but wonder if there will be any improvement?
Also, the deplorable conditions experienced by many tree planters, mosty Canadian students, needs examining. Migrant workers picking crops in Southern Ontario have much better accommodation, food and standards than experienced by northern tree planters who are often forced to work in cold rain and snow while sleeping in tents. Certainly miracle planters might attain 5,000 trees under ideal conditions, however most struggle to plant 1,000 or 2,000 trees to meet their camp costs, clothing, travel and to have meagre savings for education.
A article on the future of the Boreal Forest and sustainable forestry in Northern Ontario would be welcome.
Evolution happens with or without our consent or assistance. Yet it's hard to see the good in some of the growing numbers of invasive plant species. Good article, thanks.
Informative and well-written article. Nice to see attention being paid to this important, though sadly neglected, issue in Manitoba.
Here is a slideshow from this year's Guelph Rotary Forest tree planting at wich about 1,000 people helped plant trees:
We should cherish and protect the old-growth rain forests and what's left around us.
Stunning multimedia on the Freegan lifestyle. High quality work!