What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity is defined by the United Nations as follows:
Biological diversity is the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms. The biodiversity seen today is the result of 4.5 billion years of evolution and, increasingly, of human influence as well. It forms the web of life, of which humans are integral and upon which people and the planet so fully depend. Source: https://www.unep.org/unep-and-biodiversity
Why is biodiversity important?
A biodiverse, healthy landscape provides critical benefits to Hamiltonians such as managing flooding by storing water, reducing air pollution by filtering out harmful air particulates, and sequestering carbon.
As stated by the Ontario Biodiversity Council, in the 2020 State of Ontario’s Biodiversity Report Card: Biodiversity is all about being connected All species, including humans, rely on each other to survive. Humans depend, directly and indirectly, on biodiversity for clean air and water, food and fibre, and amazing outdoor experiences. Conserving Ontario’s biodiversity is important because healthy ecosystems sustain healthy communities and healthy economies. Biodiversity also helps us better mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Source: http://www.sobr.ca/report
Who are the Biodiversity Action Plan partners?
Just like an ecosystem, everyone has a role to play in Hamilton’s biodiversity and its long term protection and enhancement. The development of the draft Biodiversity Action Plan has been a joint effort between these partners:
What is Hamilton’s Natural Heritage System?
The Urban Hamilton Official Plan (UHOP) and Rural Hamilton Official Plan (RHOP) contain policies and definitions which address the City’s Natural Heritage System (NHS). The NHS is comprised of the Greenbelt Natural Heritage System, the Niagara Escarpment, Core Areas, and Linkages. Core Areas are natural features that are considered critical for sustaining local species and providing essential ecological functions. Approximately 36,750 hectares of land is identified as Core Area across the urban and rural areas combined. Linkages are corridors which allow movement of plan and animal species between larger natural areas. Examples of linkages are meadows, hedgerows, and streams.