Spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) on leaf litter., Evan Grimes
Spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) on leaf litter. © Evan Grimes

Biodiversity

Some of the most biodiverse areas in Canada are under tremendous pressure.

Scientists have documented an alarming decline in biological diversity – the variety of species, gene pools, and ecosystems found on Earth. A UN report issued in 2019 found that one million species are currently on a path toward extinction worldwide.

The challenge

Canada is losing species

  • Canada is far from immune from this crisis. Despite still having vast wild spaces, we have hundreds of species at risk and the list keeps growing. Some of the most biodiverse areas in southern Canada are under tremendous pressure from human activities, including urban sprawl and highways. But even in remote northern areas, the pressure to extract resources like minerals, wood or fossil fuels and to build access roads grows every year, with climate change exacerbating impacts

Current biodiversity policy is lacking

  • Canada’s biodiversity management is complex and involves many laws and departments. It provides limited protection to species and ecosystems. To improve, we need to shift from short-term, project-based thinking to proactive, large-scale planning. This includes considering the sustainability of projects for current and future generations, and maximizing benefits for people, nature, and the climate.

Our solutions

Finding places important for biodiversity

  • Our Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) program identifies areas with high biodiversity values that need improved stewardship. These areas can be in the heart of large urban areas or in remote landscapes. So far, we’ve identified more than 1,000 KBAs across Canada.

Tracking and reporting Canada's biodiversity

  • Tracking biodiversity health isn’t as simple as tracking carbon dioxide for climate change. There isn’t just one number that can tell us how healthy wildlife and ecosystems are. The SHAPE of Nature project offers a wide range of information about nature and conservation in Canada that’s founded on science and accessible to everyone.

Implementing our international biodiversity commitments

  • Canada was the first industrialized country to sign the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) in 1992. Following the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework in Montreal in December 2023, Canada is obliged to implement this into an ambitious and transformative 2030 Biodiversity Strategy for Canada. We’re recommending actions for an effective, transformative strategy.

Finding conservation solutions through the eyes of species

Improving how biodiversity impacts are addressed in industrial development

  • We provide scientific expertise and experience in addressing individual development projects in diverse sectors

  • We’ve improved the design and implementation of impact assessment policies and processes, particularly those focused on addressing cumulative effects.

Projects

Identifying key wolverine habitat

Identifying key wolverine habitat

We're surveying wolverine populations in northern Ontario to create a clearer picture of where wolverine are – and aren’t.

SHAPE of Nature

SHAPE of Nature

An accessible and comprehensive clearinghouse that shares the status and trends of biodiversity conservation across Canada.

Documenting the impacts of underwater noise

Documenting the impacts of underwater noise

Addressing impacts from shipping and climate change in the western Arctic

Creating bat habitat

Creating bat habitat

We're working on tree roost enhancement, old growth gap mitigation, and bat-friendly forestry techniques for the forestry industry.

Resources


Stories and op-eds

Fewer frogs are a sign of a changing world
2024-04-23

Fewer frogs are a sign of a changing world

The WCS Canada assessment on the State of Frogs in Canada finds that nearly half of all frog species are at some level of risk.
Meagan Simpson
Earth Day first aimed to save species. To do that, we need to think about more than one
2024-04-21

Earth Day first aimed to save species. To do that, we need to think about more than one

Stories about individual animals capture media and public attention, but that focus must extend to the broader human and environmental systems threatening biodiversity.
Justina Ray
Wild species’ survival should shape National Biodiversity Strategy
2024-04-02

Wild species’ survival should shape National Biodiversity Strategy

In Montreal in 2022, Canada committed to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030. The federal government is developing a National Biodiversity Strategy, due later this year, to outline how this commitment can be achieved. Such a strategy is direly needed.
Daniel Kraus

Media coverage

With citizen science apps, amateurs and experts both expand their horizons

Canada is too big for researchers to track all of its flora and fauna. Nature apps provide valuable wildlife data for scientists, who return the favour by sharing expertise.
2022-04-09 | The Narwhal

Our team

Justina Ray

Justina Ray

President & Senior Scientist

Daniel Kraus

Daniel Kraus

Director of National Conservation

Thomas Komarniski

Thomas Komarniski

Key Biodiversity Areas Indigenous Outreach Associate

Angela Leung

Angela Leung

KBA Quality Control Coordinator

Chloé Debyser

Chloé Debyser

KBA Canada Technical Coordinator

Colin Chapman

Colin Chapman

 Nova Scotia KBA Coordinator

Ian Adams

Ian Adams

BC KBA Regional Coordinator

Peter Soroye

Peter Soroye

Key Biodiversity Areas Assessment and Outreach Coordinator

Lucy Poley

Lucy Poley

Canada KBA Ecosystems Criteria Coordinator

Zachary Moore

Zachary Moore

Manitoba KBA Regional Coordinator

Jessica Reid

Jessica Reid

Key Biodiversity Areas Research Intern

Emily Darling

Emily Darling

Conservation Scientist


Press releases

Southwestern Ontario’s “backyard” gets national recognition as stronghold for wildlife
2024-01-05

Southwestern Ontario’s “backyard” gets national recognition as stronghold for wildlife

Despite centuries of agriculture and urban development, two natural areas in southern Ontario have gained national recognition for their importance to nature.
New report shows Canada’s trees in growing trouble
2023-03-26

New report shows Canada’s trees in growing trouble

Almost one-quarter of tree species now at risk
Lake Sturgeon in deeper trouble than previously thought
2022-12-15

Lake Sturgeon in deeper trouble than previously thought

Northern Ontario is one of the last strongholds for a species now considered endangered worldwide.