ecoCaledon

environmental citizens organization


The role of fish in the Northern BC rainforest

In Northern British Columbia, Canada’s coastal temperate rainforest stretches from above Vancouver all the way to Alaska. It houses immense amount of biodiversity and is the habitat for legendary large North American mammals, like wolves, wolverines and bears. Three types of bear, in fact, live here in the remote drizzly forest: The grizzly, the black bear and the illusive Kermode (spirit) bear. (The spirit bear is an all white black bear that is revered by locals). This forest is aptly called The Great Bear Rainforest. Bears are at its heart, and are a keystone species that help the forest function and grow.

Bear fish thousands salmon out of the rivers here each spawning season. Salmon carcasses are distributed, via the bears’ messy eating tactics, throughout the riparian zone of the forest and act as fertilizer for the ancient old-growth trees; delivering marine-derived nutrients like N15 into the soils. Some scientists theorize that the reason the trees in The Great Bear Rainforest grew to be so large and so old is because of the bears fertilizing the soil with their dinners each spawning season.

This is an example of the interconnectedness that exists in all ecosystems throughout Canada, and throughout the world. Species are integral pieces to a large puzzle of biodiversity, and removing a species can have catastrophic effects on an ecosystem. For example, if Grizzlies continue to be overhunted in British Columbia, or if the salmon population is prevented from spawning by an event such as an oil spill the vegetation of The Great Bear Rainforest will lose its nutrients and decline.

I encourage you to watch Spoil, a documentary that outlines the salmon-bear relationship in British Columbia, and let it inspire you to see the interconnectedness of all life in Canada.

spoil video image
SPOIL  A powerful award winning documentary on the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposed to stretch from the tar sands to the Great Bear Rainforest on the coast of British …
Haleigh Ryan

Citations:

Moola, F. (2015, October). What are B.C’s policies and laws? [Powerpoint].

 


Save our Bees!

With snow and ice blanketing the ground and the holiday season in full swing, you might think that this is an unusual time to be considering the plight of the bee populations  of the earth. But they need our help now and it seems the perfect time to learn what you can do to aid these little creatures that are so important to our food supply and gardens.

For many years, the Ontario honeybee population has been steadily declining and millions of bees have been dying around the world. It’s decimating the beekeepers and many reasons for these die-offs have been tossed around, including mites and pesticide use.

But, in the last few years, the predominant culprit seems to be a family of pesticides called neonicotinoids. These pesticides have only become popular in the last two decades and are being used agriculturally as seed treatments, by homeowners for grub control and foliar sprays on apples and pears. They are systemic pesticides which means that they are taken up by the plant and transported to all the tissues ( leaves, flowers, roots and stems as well as pollen and nectar) rather than remaining on the surface.

Beekeepers and bee researchers are becoming increasingly concerned that these pesticides may be connected to current bee declines. Several European countries have banned the use of some neonicotinoids for specific crops. The Ontario Beekeepers Association has launched a petition to get the province to ban the pesticide until more research is undergone. This only seems prudent to most people. The Sierra Club Canada has started a campaign called “Save The Bees.”

On September 12th, 2013, the Pest Management Regulation Agency (PMRA) quietly posted a release that read, “HealthCanada’s PMRA has determined that current agricultural practices related to the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed are affecting the environment due to their impacts on bees and other pollinators.”

I think that the least we could do for these creatures that work so tirelessly for us and are so important to our food supply and gardens and ask nothing in return is to place a moratorium on this class of pesticide until further research is conducted as to their safety to our environment.

Let your government know that you are siding with the bees.


Biodiversity

What is Biodiversity? Why is it important? What Can We Do?

By Donna Ferron Chair: ecoCaledon

WHAT IS BIODIVERSITY?

Biodiversity, or biological diversity, is:

The diversity of species that populate the Earth (animals, plants, fungi, algae, bacteria, viruses, etc.)

The diversity between individuals of a same species or genetic diversity (difference of size, shape, colour, etc.)

The diversity of ecosystems, i.e. the different environments (a pond, forest, coral reef) the species that inhabit them, and their interaction.

In other words, biodiversity is all around us and we are part of it ourselves. It is difficult to quantify as a large number of species are microscopic, live hidden, or simply have yet to be discovered. There are currently around 1.9 million living species catalogues worldwide, but this is only the visible tip of the iceberg.

Why is Biodiversity Important?

Biodiversity is the result of 3.8 billion years of evolution, and is essential to our survival. Food, building materials, insulation and decoration, natural textile fibres, active ingredients in many medicines, pollution, de-pollution of the air, water and soil, flood limitation… biodiversity offers a wealth of products and services without which life on Earth as we know it would not be possible.

Unfortunately, all too often we forget just how much we owe to biodiversity; it is often taken for granted, perceived as being free and eternal… but today is seriously threatened b human activity: destruction of fragmentation of habitat, multiple forms of pollution, over-hunting, over-fishing, over-exploitation of land and forest, over-production of greenhouse gasses leading to climate change.

Maintaining biodiversity is one of the main environmental challenges our planet has to face at the beginning of the 21st century.

Everyone can make a contribution in protecting biodiversity, and the participation of each and everyone of us is needed. We can all act at or own level – without making major changes to our way of life – by adopting a few simple actions in our daily life: eating local, seasonal produce, saving water, composting food waste, learning to recognize the plant and animal species that surround us

Below are a few ways you can make a contribution in protection biodiversity.

I SUPPORT NATURE-PROTECTION ASSOCIATIONS.

I DO NOT DISTURB ANIMALS WHEN I AM OUT WALKING.

I USE MY PORTABLE COMPUTER FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE.

This information is provided by HPDBN -The Halton Peel BioDiversity Network