Biodiversity (short for biological diversity) is the variety of all forms of life, found both in the ecosystems and species that occur. We can see biodiversity in the variety of different plants and animals in our communities. Biodiversity hotspots are areas of greatest ecological importance in the regional landscape. The Okanagan is known as a biodiversity-rich region of Canada, and is home to many rare and at-risk ecosystems and species, including species found nowhere else in Canada, and in some cases, nowhere else in the world.
Biodiversity is key to sustainable agriculture because it enables both food provisioning and healthy ecosystem functioning, through pollination, genetic diversity, and species diversity.
Some benefits of high biodiversity include increased resilience of crops and ecosystems to stressors, such as climate change, increased natural pest management and attraction of wild pollinators, and increased soil erosion control.
You can increase your on-farm biodiversity by growing different varietals, planting complementary or successional crops together (intercropping), planting cover crops between rows or in the margins or edges of your property, and integrating natural ecosystems, such as wetlands, into your farming operation.
The objectives of biodiversity ranches are to protect and restore riparian areas, establish short-term grazing rotation and other conservation practices on Crown range tenures, and to promote scientific research. The primary goal of the biodiversity ranch conservation program is to maintain and restore the grassland ecosystem and associated habitats.
Environmental Farm Plan
The BC Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) is a partnership between Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, the BC Ministry of Agriculture, and the BC Agriculture Research and Development Corporation. It is a voluntary risk-based audit and planning process and is designed to help producers identify areas where environmental improvements should occur on a farm or ranch. The program is intended for all types and scales of farms and ranches. Local advisors provide assistance. Planning for Biodiversity: A Guide for B.C. Farmers and Ranchers is an EFP program to improving biodiversity values on agricultural properties. The guide outlines the relationship between good agricultural practices and biodiversity, includes a Biodiversity Assessment Tool, and Beneficial Management Practices for farmers and ranchers.
- Planning for Biodiversity: A Guide for BC Farmers and Ranchers (EFP)
- Keeping Nature in Our Future: A Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for the
South Okanagan- Similkameen (on SOSCP Biodiversity page)