A plan for the future that communities can embrace

Conservation Planning - Our Biodiversity Priorities

We've mapped the islands' biodiversity and consulted a wide range of partners and experts to determine what ecosystems, species and landscapes are most in need of protection.  The Islands Trust Fund is focusing on these priorities for conservation.


Sensitive Ecosystems

Sensitive Ecosystems

Sensitive ecosystems are fragile and rare, and support a high diversity of species.  The islands in the Strait of Georgia hold the following sensitive ecosystems:
        •   Old forest ecosystems
        •   Woodland ecosystems
        •   Wetland ecosystems
        •   Riparian ecosystems
        •   Freshwater ecosystems
        •   Herbaceous ecosystems
        •   Cliff ecosystems
        •   Mature forest ecosystems

Sensitive ecosystem mapping for each island in the region may be found at the Islands Trust's MapIT site.
Representative Ecosystems

Representative Ecosystems

A plant or animal species becomes endangered when its home disappears.  To protect species from becoming endangered, some of every type of ecosystems should be protected, despite its sensitivity or threat level.
Red-Legged Frog by K Ovaska

"At Risk" Species and Ecosystems

The ecosystems of the Islands Trust area are home to 88 federally-listed and 355 provincially-listed endangered and threatened species*.  Losing even one species to extinction can throw a whole ecosystem off balance, negatively affecting other species and even humans.  At-risk species have a better chance of survival if their homes are protected.

Connectivity and Buffers

Most protected areas in the Islands Trust area are small.  In 2010, 329 of the 480 protected properties were smaller than 5 hectares.  Larger protected areas support more species and have lower extinction rates for species.  We can improve the value of small protected properties in the islands by creating natural buffers around them and creating corridors connecting them to other protected areas.

Nearshore Zone Areas

The nearshore zone - where land meets water - holds some of the highest rates of biodiversity in the islands.  Nearshore habitats that would benefit from conservation include:
        •   Beaches and bluffs
        •   Forage fish habitat
        •   Kelp and eelgrass beds
        •   Marine riparian vegetation
        •   Juvenile salmon nearshore habitat
People are attracted to beaches more than any other natural area in the islands.  But the habitats of the nearshore zone are especially sensitive to disturbance.  Species in this zone depend on precise physical and biological conditions, such as wave action or available sunlight.  Docks, seawalls, gardens and homes can all seriously damage habitats of nearshore areas.

Islets and Small Islands

Many islets and small islands have been spared the threats common to larger islands.  With little human impact and fewer invasive species, islets and small islands tend to support many species at-risk and rare plant communities.  The isolated conditions found on small islands and islets also support colony nesting birds.  Protecting islets and small islands is an important goal of conservation planning in the Islands Trust area.

*Numbers are determined by search criteria that isolate species by biogeoclimatic zone and regional district (B.C. Conservation Data Centre, 2010).


Page last updated: 13/10/16
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