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Biodiversity. What is Biodiversity? .

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what is biodiversity
What is Biodiversity? 
  • "The variability among living organisms from all sources including 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" --Convention on Biological Diversity
  • "Variability within nature" --UK Biodiversity Action Plan
  • "Wide array of ecosystems, ecological processes, species and genes" --Environment Canada
biodiversity loss
Biodiversity Loss
  • Species extinction and habitat loss
  • Today, biodiversity loss is 1000 times higher than the rates found in the fossil record

causes of biodiversity loss
Causes of Biodiversity Loss
  • Habitat Destruction
  • Invasive Species
  • Over exploitation
  • Climate Change
  • Overpopulation
  • Pollution

why do we need biodiversity
Why Do We Need Biodiversity?  
  • Ecosystem services - $16-$64 trillion
  • Research - e.g. discovery of new medicine
  • Aesthetic value 
  • Food Security

how to fix biodiversity loss
How To Fix Biodiversity Loss
  • What is the market failure?
    • Under provision of a public good
    • Lack of information
    • Externality
    • incomplete property rights
  • What policies address this?  
    • Command and Control Regulation
    • Public Education
    • Permitting
    • Tax Incentives

us biodiversity policy
US Biodiversity Policy

The USA has no official national biodiversity policy. However, there are key pieces of legislation that help define US biodiversity policy.

- US government policy has been primarily focused on conservation efforts for most of history

- US Fish and Wildlife Service (

  • US government's wildlife and conservation agency

- Recent development

  • US government position moving closer to support an international biodiversity agreement. (
us key national legislation
US - Key National Legislation
  • The Lacey Act (1900) (
    •  The first environmental piece of legislation. Provides the ability for the federal government to regulate invasive species populations. Evolved over the 20th century to reflect the challenges of the time.
  •  The Migratory Bird Conservation Act (1929) (
      • Provision provided that allows the Federal government to rent/buy land that can be protected to preserve the natural habitat for migratory bird
  • The Clean Water Act (1948 (
  • Affects fish and wildlife that are dependent on water for their survival.

The Clean Air Act (1963) (

      • Has helped restore ozone in the atmosphere which is vital to the protection of trees and assisted in the mitigation of acid rain that devatstates natural habitat.
  • Endangered Species Act of 1969 (1973) (
    • Often cited as the US's landmark biodiversity legislation (more info on the next slide).
  • Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (1980) (
    • Allocates substantial funding to the states to assist with conservation efforts of natural habitats.
uk s approach to biodiversity
UK's Approach to Biodiversity
  • Convention on Biological Diversity
    • International Treaty for the "conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity" (CBD)
  • Biodiversity Action Plan
    • Inventories potentially threatened species and habitats
    • Creates plans to protect species and habitats
    • The 4 countries of the UK have all designed their own Action Plans
  • Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981
    •  Protects wildlife and habitats of the UK
    • Amended to comply with EU directives

eu biodiversity policies
EU Biodiversity Policies
  • Habitat Directive
    • Protects 1000 animals and plant species and 200  "habitat types" (EU)
  • Bird Directive
    • Protects birds and their habitats 
  • Natura 2000
    • EU-wide network of protected areas
  • EU biodiversity strategy to 2020
    •  Goal to stop biodiversity loss by 2020
    • Focus on EU and the globe

biodiversity in canada
Biodiversity in Canada
  • 1973 Canada Wildlife Act
    • Creates national wildlife areas
  • 1990 Wildlife Policy for Canada
    • emphasized the restoration of biodiversity and ecological processes
  • Migratory Birds Convention Act 1994
    • Protects birds from hunting and trafficking
    • Establishes Migratory Bird Refuges
  •  1995 Canadian Biodiversity Strategy
    • produced by a group including federal, provincial and territorial governments
    • Guide to carrying out Canada's commitments  under the Convention of Biodiversity

canadian provinces
Canadian Provinces
  • Ontario
    • The Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program
      •  A voluntary program administered by the MNR to provide lower property taxes to participating landowners who agree to conserve and actively manage their forests.
    • Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program
      • provides property tax relief to those landowners who agree to protect the natural heritage value of their property
  • British Columbia
    • Ecological Services Act
      • Preserves land to protect species and habitats
    • Wildlife Act
      • Creates wildlife areas, protects endangered species, and regulates invasive species

  • Comparatively speaking, the US has no official national biodiversity plan while the UK and Canada have national long-term biodiversity plans.
  •  The most used policies are direct regulation and provision of information
  • We may be going into a 6th mass extinction period, so it is very important to act now!