What Is Biodiversity?
The Lagoon Society is committed to preserving the biodiverse ecosystems of the Sunshine Coast, and raising awareness about threats to biodiversity around the world.
What is Biodiversity?
There are many different definitions of biodiversity, although the most all-encompassing one is simply ‘the variety of life on earth.’ But, as with most things about our natural environment, it goes a little deeper than that.
This video from the Vancouver Film School gives an excellent short primer on biodiversity:
This short clip shows how just one species (the wolf) can be linked to a web which has a multitude of effects on ecosystems:
When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix.
Why is protecting biodiversity important?
People are inextricably linked to the natural environment and depend on it for clean air, clean water, nutrient cycling, pollination and other ‘ecosystem services’ of which we are only just beginning to understand the value. Biodiverse areas tend to be more resistant to change, so they provide the most stable ecosystem services upon which we all depend, even in the face of disturbances such as natural disasters and climate change.
Many would argue that there is a moral imperative to conserve biodiversity because it is the right thing to do. Many people think that it is wrong for humans to cause extinctions of ecosystems, species and populations for our own gain. Extinctions and declines are often undoubtedly due to the influence of people.
Humans depend on biodiversity for food, fuel, fibre, medicines, recreation, and for aesthetic and spiritual values. The Sunshine Coast would not be what it is today without its bountiful ocean, abundant forests, and pristine wetlands. By protecting and enhancing our biodiversity, we maintain the quality of life of our wildlife and our communities.
The following video gives a quick glimpse into the incredibly diverse biosphere we call home:
Biodiversity of the Sunshine Coast
The Sunshine Coast boasts a fantastic diversity of landscapes and wildlife, with crystal clear oceans that teem with sea life, productive wetlands and low-elevation forests which give refuge to wildlife at the very northern limits of their ranges, and lofty alpine meadows and high-elevation forests that are home to mysterious and elusive mountain creatures.
Among our most precious habitats are the Coastal Douglas-fir forests. These landscapes, with their towering ancient old-growth Douglas-fir trees by the sea, are the rarest in all of British Columbia.
In the abundant ponds and lakes of the Sechelt Peninsula, Western Painted Turtles lurk among the lilies and reeds. On a sunny day they’ll haul themselves out onto floating logs to sun themselves, but in the winter, they hibernate buried underwater in muddy lake bottoms for up to 5 months.
High up in the high-elevation old-growth forests of the Sunshine Coast you’ll find the nests of the Marbled Murrelet – a mysterious seabird that can travel dozens of kilometres daily from the ocean where they feed to where their growing chicks demand to be fed. Poor fliers, these inconspicuous little birds have to crash land at their nests and then take a flying leap to get airborne again!
These are just some of the incredible landscapes and wildlife that we are lucky to enjoy on the Sunshine Coast. By everyone in our community working together to develop a biodiversity strategy, we can protect and enhance our species and habitats for many years into the future.
The Lagoon Society’s Biodiversity Stewardship
Biodiversity has always been at the forefront of our interests as a non-profit. After hosting a “Meeting of Minds” in 2011, the Lagoon Society convened the 3-day Sunshine Coast Biodiversity Summit in 2012. At the Summit, community members, scientists, and activists convened to discuss the state of biodiversity on the Sunshine Coast, and as a result we worked together to develop the Biodiversity Strategy.
The Sunshine Coast Biodiversity Strategy sets out a series of goals and objectives and provides a template for action to guide our community in conserving and managing biodiversity in our beautiful region. We created this document with the hopes of defining the mutual interests of all members of the Sunshine Coast Community. Since then, we have taken steps to create the proposed Action Plan Database to implement the vision and goals of the Biodiversity Strategy, and track our progress and success in doing so.
Supplementary to our stewardship, we host an annual Bioblitz to celebrate the diversity of species we have on the coast. At this event, we host volunteers who spend the whole day exploring our native marine, terrestrial, and fresh-water ecosystems to identify as many species as we can. Not only is this an incredibly rewarding and fun experience for people of all ages, but it brings the community together in a realization of the beautiful natural world around us.
The Lagoon Society does much to promote conservation of the Sunshine Coast's biodiverse ecosystems. We continue to do environmental restoration, community workshops, and stewardship around the Coast. To learn more about our work, check out the "Our Stewardship" tab on our website!
How can you help?
Sometimes, all of the talk of endangered species and lost habitats can seem overwhelming. What can one person or one family do to help when society itself struggles to deal with these issues?
Well, it turns out, a lot!
Individual action is often the key to conserving wildlife species, especially ones that can thrive in human places with just a little help. The Lagoon Society is running a series of programs to show what you can do to help biodiversity, and we have regular volunteer opportunities that will help you make a difference in a community! You can join us by: