The Ontario Biodiversity Council (OBC), in conjunction with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, released its State of Ontario’s Biodiversity 2010 report last week, comprised of 29 indicators that provide the most comprehensive overview to date of the province’s natural environment and the pressures that must be addressed for what?.
More than one-third of the indicators in the Council’s report establish baselines of information for the first time, providing a reliable way to measure progress in the future. One of these indicators is the Ecological Footprint, which indicates pressure on biodiversity by measuring human demand on ecosystems.
In 2005, Ontario’s Ecological Footprint was 8.4 global hectares per person, one of the largest in the world on a per capita basis, the report states. However, the ability of Ontario’s biological resources to support these demands is limited. On a per capita basis, Ontario has much less biocapacity available than Canada overall, though its biocapacity equals its Ecological Footprint on a per capita basis
“To the extent human pressure exceeds what nature can renew or takes land out of use altogether by paving it over, biodiversity will face continued threats,” said Global Footprint Network Applications Manager Meredith Stechbart.
In 2005, Ontario released a biodiversity strategy, which laid out a series of recommendations on improving the protection of the province’s natural wealth. The creation of the Ontario Biodiversity Council fulfilled a recommendation of the Strategy.
“The work of the Ontario Biodiversity Council shows that the government has taken significant steps to address the goals of the biodiversity strategy,” said Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Natural Resources. “Measuring and documenting our biodiversity will enable Ontarians to make informed conservation and planning decisions.”
“This report shows where the threats to Ontario’s biodiversity are,” says Jon Grant, Chair of the Ontario Biodiversity Council. “We now have a clear picture of where we need to concentrate more efforts and where more research is required. We may not like all of the findings of the report, but we can certainly use the knowledge we’ve gained to strengthen Ontario’s conservation agenda.”
Download the State of Ontario’s Biodiversity 2010
Download the State of Ontario’s Biodiversity 2010—Highlights
Download the Ontario Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity Report