Ontario Nature's 2020 Vision: A Biodiversity Charter for Ontario
Ontario Nature has been protecting and advocating for biodiversity for more than 80 years. We believe that the loss of biological diversity is one of the most important issues facing us today and in the future. That is why we ended 2010 with a special campaign, a 20/20 vision for biodiversity in Ontario.
Join Ontario Nature to help prevent further losses to biodiversity and sustain healthy ecosystems. With your support, we are saving wetlands, grasslands and forests across Ontario.
Protecting and enhancing Ontario’s biodiversity is woven into the fabric of all of Ontario Nature’s work. We push for conservation of the boreal forest and the protection of endangered species. We advocate for mining practices that respect local communities and ecosystems. We educate young people about the natural world and invite people to participate in conservation projects and events. We champion the creation of a Greenway in southern and eastern Ontario and steward a growing nature reserve system. We compile scientific and policy research to help inform sustainable planning decisions.
What is biodiversity and why is it important?
The United Nations defines biodiversity as the variety of life on Earth. Biodiversity is the product of billions of years of evolution, shaped by natural processes and, increasingly, by the influence of humans. All living organisms depend directly on biodiversity.
Humans are diminishing this natural heritage at a greatly accelerated rate, impoverishing us all and weakening the ability of the living systems to resist growing threats to their stability, such as climate change. Ecosystems are interdependent and sustained by biodiversity.
People and biodiversity
We depend on the planet’s ecological infrastructure for our survival. Biodiversity enriches our lives and sustains us. It provides us with irreplaceable benefits: clean water, food, fresh air, fuel, medicine, crop pollination, carbon sinks.
The government of Ontario released a Biodiversity Strategy in 2005 recognizing that all Ontarians have a role in protecting the province’s biological diversity. The strategy identifies a number of critical actions that will help Ontario reach its biodiversity conservation goals:
Protect the genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity of Ontario;
Use and develop the biological assets of Ontario sustainably; and
Capture the benefits from such use for Ontarians.
Why was 2010 the year of biodiversity?
The present loss of biodiversity is so great that entire ecosystems are now at risk of disappearing altogether. The United Nations identified four reasons why 2010 was the International Year of Biodiversity.
Humans are part of nature’s rich diversity and have the power to protect or destroy it;
Biodiversity is essential to sustaining the living networks and systems our lives depend on;
Human activity is causing irreversible loss of diversity; and
Now is the time to act.
What is Ontario Nature doing?
Ontario Nature celebrates nature in all its amazing diversity. Join us in taking action to prevent further losses to Ontario’s biodiversity.
During the International Year of Biodiversity, Ontario Nature:
- Protected more imperiled habitat along the Niagara Escarpment, home to rare plants and wildlife, by adding to our nature reserve system.
- Researched and compiled much-needed data on Ontario’s diminishing populations of reptiles and amphibians with the help of volunteers.
- Worked with other conservationists and farmers to protect southern and eastern Ontario landscapes that support endangered plants, animals and ecosystems.
- Pushed for the protection of the northern boreal region, a once pristine landscape that contains species found in few other places in the world, and spoke out against unchecked industrial activity in the James Bay Lowlands where mining activity is rapidly escalating in the absence of government oversight.
Click here to read our history of conservation success.
- Habitat loss from the conversion of natural ecosystems is the largest threat to biodiversity. Of the Earth’s 14 terrestrial biomes, more than half have diminished by 20% and 50% through conversion to cropland.
- Nearly all Ontario’s turtle species are at risk of becoming locally extinct, a tragedy that will severely diminish a once richly diverse community of reptiles.
- The national parks of Canada store 4.43 gigatonnes (billion metric tonnes) of carbon, a service worth between $11bn and $2.2 trillion depending on the price of carbon in the market.