This report is about the laws and policies that affect protection of biological diversity in British Columbia. Biodiversity means the whole spectrum of life on earth. It includes species diversity , genetic diversity and ecosystem diversity. Biodiversity is in crisis: species extinctions have reached a rate not seen since the time of the dinosaurs. The biodiversity crisis arises from "inadequate nature reserves, human overpopulation and non-sustainable resource consumption, species extinction, endangered ecosystems, impending rapid climate change, and imperfect laws."
Law can be a powerful tool for biodiversity protection. Law regulates resource extraction, and also protects land and species. The current environmental and resource laws in BC, while strong in relation to the rest of Canada, are not strong enough to halt the biodiversity crisis. The law treats species and their habitats separately. One branch of law has developed for wildlife protection, another for reserving land as parks or protected areas and yet another for managing land for resource use. A preferable holistic approach to biodiversity protection would incorporate principles of ecosystem management into law, include laws to protect both species and their habitat, and require sustainable use of biological resources.
This report looks at whether BC's laws reflect the principles of ecosystem management which have been designed to address the biodiversity crisis.