Half of B.C. must be protected as hedge against climate change, by Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun January 27, 2010
The B.C. government is being asked to develop a joint strategy for nature conservation and climate change leading to biodiversity protection for half the province’s land base.
A coalition of leading environmental groups says that existing parks and protected areas cover almost 15 per cent of the land base — not nearly enough to protect landscapes and wildlife against the ravages of climate change.
The report, prepared by forest ecologist Jim Pojar, recommends that “at least an additional 35 per cent of the land base (be) managed for biodiversity and carbon,” a recognition that natural forests store carbon dioxide better than do industrial forests.
New land designations and/or tenures will likely be required to guide management of the expanded conservation network outside of existing parks and protected areas, the report states. Only activities “compatible with the long-term objectives of biodiversity conservation and adaptation” should be allowed in these new areas, it said.
Connectivity of landscapes will become increasingly important as B.C.’s climate continues to warm and species migrate to find new homes.