British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

The struggle with biodiversity conservation Schuerholz, Goetz


Biodiversity conservation in the area of environment management has become the new buzzword of this decade. Widely used but little understood, it continues to cause confusion and misgivings. It is expected that new legislation and policies will soon be in place requiring biodiversity conservation to be addressed in Environmental Impact Assessments and land use development projects. This paper describes a first attempt to develop an objective method to qualify and quantify biodiversity for the Line Creek coal properties and leases in the Elk Valley of B.C. Corresponding baseline data are provided through Line Creek's comprehensive biophysical inventories, complemented through additional fieldwork in 1994. The overall objective was to facilitate comparison of ecological entities in terms of biodiversity. Based on a vegetation map of 1 : 20 000, the Map Units identified as "macrohabitats" were rated via a Biodiversity Index developed for this purpose. Key elements of the biodiversity index are flora and fauna as living ecosystem components. To do justice to specific habitat requirements of live organisms, six component indices were assessed. The sum of the component indices provides the overall value of the Biodiversity Index with the assumption that attached values are additive. The numerical rating of component indices with an overall numerical value of the Biodiversity Index permits a relatively objective comparison habitat types. This method is far from being perfect. The most serious drawback is the lack of information and unbalanced information in particular with respect to invertebrates and lower plant species. The objective of this presentation is to stimulate a discussion on a topic which cannot any longer be ignored.

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