Environment & Energy Bulletin >>
An Updated Look at British Columbia's Parks, Protected Areas and Conservation Efforts
Posted Jul 28, 2016
Conservation of land and marine areas is an important part of recognizing natural, ecological, and/or cultural values of biodiversity. British Columbia is a world leader in this regard.
There has been a sixfold increase in the quantum of land managed for non-industrial or development values since the early 1990s in British Columbia. The quantum of land protected now stands at a minimum 37% or 349,551 square kilometers, an area slightly smaller than the entire land mass for Germany at 357,168 square kilometers.
While only 20% of BC GDP is derived directly from natural resource based industries (mining, energy, forestry, energy, agriculture, etc.), 70% of the province's merchandisable exports depend on access to the land. About half of these exports are from the forest sector.
The Convention of Biological Diversity notes the importance of conserved areas for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Both BC and Canada have not fully integrated the benefits of land use in their plans for managing greenhouse gas emissions. A significant missed opportunity.
The risk of losing sensitive, unique, or undisturbed regions appears low, particularly in light of BC’s rigorous project permitting processes. Any next steps to expand and make more of the province off limits for economic activity should be done with caution, with consideration of quality over quantum as a primary criterion.
- There is growing global demand for high-quality resource-based products, especially from jurisdictions who manage their resources in an effective manner. This bodes well for British Columbia as long as we do not further impede access to the land.