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What is Biodiversity?
• "The variability among living organisms from all sources
including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems
and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this
includes diversity within species, between species and of
ecosystems" --Convention on Biological Diversity
• "Variability within nature" --UK Biodiversity Action Plan
• "Wide array of ecosystems, ecological processes, species
and genes" --Environment Canada
Biodiversity Loss
• Species extinction and habitat loss
• Today, biodiversity loss is 1000 times higher than the rates
found in the fossil record
Causes of Biodiversity Loss
Habitat Destruction
Invasive Species
Over exploitation
Climate Change
Why Do We Need Biodiversity?
Ecosystem services - $16-$64 trillion
Research - e.g. discovery of new medicine
Aesthetic value
Food Security
How To Fix Biodiversity Loss
• What is the market failure?
o Under provision of a public good
o Lack of information
o Externality
o incomplete property rights
• What policies address this?
o Command and Control Regulation
o Public Education
o Permitting
o Tax Incentives
US Biodiversity Policy
The USA has no official national biodiversity policy. However, there are key pieces of
legislation that help define US biodiversity policy.
- US government policy has been primarily focused on conservation efforts for most of
- US Fish and Wildlife Service (
• US government's wildlife and conservation agency
- Recent development
• US government position moving closer to support an international biodiversity
agreement. (
US - Key National Legislation
The Lacey Act (1900) (
The first environmental piece of legislation. Provides the ability for the federal government to
regulate invasive species populations. Evolved over the 20th century to reflect the challenges of
the time.
The Migratory Bird Conservation Act (1929) (
 Provision provided that allows the Federal government to rent/buy land that can be protected
to preserve the natural habitat for migratory bird
 The Clean Water Act (1948 (
 Affects fish and wildlife that are dependent on water for their survival.
The Clean Air Act (1963) (
 Has helped restore ozone in the atmosphere which is vital to the protection of trees
and assisted in the mitigation of acid rain that devatstates natural habitat.
• Endangered Species Act of 1969 (1973) (
o Often cited as the US's landmark biodiversity legislation (more info on the next slide).
• Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (1980) (
o Allocates substantial funding to the states to assist with conservation efforts of natural habitats.
UK's Approach to Biodiversity
• Convention on Biological Diversity
o International Treaty for the "conservation and sustainable
use of biological diversity" (CBD)
• Biodiversity Action Plan
o Inventories potentially threatened species and habitats
o Creates plans to protect species and habitats
o The 4 countries of the UK have all designed their own
Action Plans
• Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981
o Protects wildlife and habitats of the UK
o Amended to comply with EU directives
EU Biodiversity Policies
• Habitat Directive
o Protects 1000 animals and plant species and
200 "habitat types" (EU)
• Bird Directive
o Protects birds and their habitats
• Natura 2000
o EU-wide network of protected areas
• EU biodiversity strategy to 2020
o Goal to stop biodiversity loss by 2020
o Focus on EU and the globe
Biodiversity in Canada
• 1973 Canada Wildlife Act
o Creates national wildlife areas
• 1990 Wildlife Policy for Canada
o emphasized the restoration of biodiversity and ecological
• Migratory Birds Convention Act 1994
o Protects birds from hunting and trafficking
o Establishes Migratory Bird Refuges
• 1995 Canadian Biodiversity Strategy
o produced by a group including federal, provincial and
territorial governments
o Guide to carrying out Canada's commitments under the
Convention of Biodiversity
Canadian Provinces
• Ontario
o The Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program
 A voluntary program administered by the MNR to provide lower
property taxes to participating landowners who agree to conserve
and actively manage their forests.
Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program
 provides property tax relief to those landowners who agree to protect
the natural heritage value of their property
• British Columbia
o Ecological Services Act
 Preserves land to protect species and habitats
o Wildlife Act
 Creates wildlife areas, protects endangered species,
and regulates invasive species
• Comparatively speaking, the US has no official national
biodiversity plan while the UK and Canada have national
long-term biodiversity plans.
• The most used policies are direct regulation and provision
of information
• We may be going into a 6th mass extinction period, so it is
very important to act now!