Eastern Vancouver Island one of nine ‘Ecocrisis regions’ in Canada

Baikie Island in the Campbell River Estuary is one of the ‘bright spots of conservation’ identified in the study. Photo NCCBaikie Island in the Campbell River Estuary is one of the ‘bright spots of conservation’ identified in the study. Photo NCC
The Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve is one of the NCC’s best restoration success stories. Photo NCCThe Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve is one of the NCC’s best restoration success stories. Photo NCC
The Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve is home to the globally rare Garry Oak tree. Photo NCCThe Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve is home to the globally rare Garry Oak tree. Photo NCC

Eastern Vancouver Island has been named one of nine of the country’s Ecocrisis Regions by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).

The conservancy released a study on 77 ecological regions in the country’s southern half, looking at the number of endangered species, the amount of parks and protected areas, and the amount of remaining habitat. The study then ranks the areas in terms of the biodiversity and the threat they face in coming years as the climate crisis continues.

Eastern Vancouver Island is one of the nine most at risk areas in the country. According to the study it “supports more biological diversity than anywhere else in the province.”

“For eastern Vancouver Island, what’s important is that it’s really near the top in terms of unique biodiversity from a national perspective. It certainly scores right near the top in terms of the number of species of national conservation concern, and also there’s a large number of species in terms of global conservation concern,” said Dan Kraus, a senior conservation biologist for the conservancy and the author of the study. “It is critically important, not just from a Canadian perspective, but from a Global perspective.”

What makes the Island stand out are the Garry Oak ecosystems in the south. However, the study also identifies over 55 species that are part of the national database of species at risk on the Island, including the Oregon vesper sparrow, the dense-flower lupine and the common sharp-tailed snake. Many of the most diverse areas also happen to be the most populated by humans, which can increase the risk to the species.

While it is that clash between human populations and pockets of biodiversity that put the Island on the map, Kraus also sees this as an opportunity for people to get more involved in conservation and protecting the rich biodiversity in their communities.

“In some cases those imperiled species only exist in those urban areas,” Kraus said. “Urban areas can be a challenge, but there’s also the opportunity to protect those places close to where people are living. This is a chance for people to get directly involved in protecting those places, but also a gateway to think about whether that same time of habitat or species exists outside of where they live,” he said.

“There’s more and more awareness now that protecting these places is more than that. It’s about protecting the benefits that nature provides the people. The places that we’ve lost the most nature are the places that we need it the most… They’re storing carbon, which will help with climate change, they store flood waters in times of drought and in many coastal ecosystems they’re going to become more important as sea levels rise and we get an increasing number of storm surges.”

Though the content of the study is dire, there are some instances of hope that Kraus says the study has pointed out. One of which is the restoration work that has occurred at Campbell River’s Baikie Island in the past few years.

“We hear a lot of doom and gloom, and even calling it ‘crisis eco-regions’ makes it sound really bad, but there are these places that provide evidence of hope that we can protect nature and the benefits that nature provides while supporting local economies and our well-being,” he said.

The study has been made into a user-friendly website at www.natureconservancy.ca/casc.

RELATED: B.C. recorded $505-million liability for cleanup of contaminated sites

17% of food production globally wasted: UN report



marc.kitteringham@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Climate changeEnvironment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

Cheryl Dill visits the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Talking jobs, tourism and business with Cheryl Dill in Parksville

Podcast: COVID-19 has far-reaching impacts on Vancouver Island

(File photo)
PQB crime report: Vandals strike in Parksville, prowler lurks in Nanoose Bay

Oceanside RCMP receive 276 complaints in one-week period

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Ladysmith-area Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Most Read