Skip booklet index and go to page content

Canadian Biodiversity Strategy


Aquatic Biodiversity - includes both marine and freshwater biodiversity includingwetlands, bogs, marshes, groundwater, etc.

Biodiversity or Biological Diversity - the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.

Biodiversity Indicators - indicators or measures that allow us to determine the degree of biological or environmental changes within ecosystems, populations or groups of organisms over time and space.

Biological Reference Point - with respect to fisheries management, is an estimated value derived through agreed-upon scientific procedures, that corresponds to the state of a stock and can be used as a guide for fisheries management.

Biological Resources - includes genetic resources, organisms or parts thereof, populations, or any other biotic component of ecosystems with actual or potential use or value for humanity.

Biosystematists - scientists who discover, describe, scientifically name and classify species while also considering evolutionary aspects of the species.

Biotechnology - the application of science and engineering in the direct or indirect use of living organisms, or parts or products of living organisms, in their natural or modified forms.

Conservation - the maintenance of sustainable use of the Earth's resources in a manner that maintains ecosystem, species and genetic diversity and the evolutionary and other processes that shaped them. Conservation may or may not involve the use of resources; that is, certain areas, species or populations may be excluded from human use as part of an overall landscape/waterscape conservation approach.

Corridors - this term is used in the Strategy in a general sense to refer to measures that are taken to ensure the natural immigration and emigration of populations and species. This may be a [physical corridor, such as a terrestrial or marine migration route, a flyway, or it may refer to a particular management practice that allows species and populations to continue patterns of movement.

Debt-for-Nature Swap - a form of debt-equity conversion whereby a portion of a developing country's external debt is forgiven or paid by another country in exchange for specified environmental protection or biodiversity conservation measures.

Ecological Management - the management of human activities so that ecosystems, their structure, function, composition, and the physical, chemical, and biological processes that shaped them, continue at appropriate temporal and spatial scales. Ecological management is sometimes called ecosystem management or an ecological approach to management.

Ecological Services - services that humans derive from ecological functions such as photosynthesis, oxygen production, water purification and so on.

Ecosystem - a dynamic complex of plants, animals and micro-organisms and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit. The term ecosystem can describe small scale units, such as a drop of water, as well as large scale units, such as the biosphere.

Endangered species - species that are threatened with immediate extinction or extirpation if the factors threatening them continue to operate. Included are species whose numbers have been reduced to a critical level or whose habitats have been so drastically reduced that they are deemed to be in immediate danger of extinction.

Endemic Species - are species which exist in only one specific areas, or ecological zone.

Ex situ Conservation - the conservation of components of biological diversity outside their natural habitats, often in such institutions as zoos, museums, botanical gardens, aquariums and gene banks.

Extirpated Canadian Species - species that are no longer found in the wild in Canada but exist elsewhere in the world.

Genetic engineering - the technique involving the transfer of specific genetic information from one organism to another.

Genetically modified organism - an organism whose genetic information has been altered by any technique including natural processes, mutagenesis or genetic engineering.

Genetic Resources - genetic material of actual or potential value.

Germplasm - genetic material (with a definite chemical and molecular constitution) that forms the physical basis of inherited qualities and is transmitted from generation to generation by the germ cells.

Global Environment Facility (GEF) - a financial mechanism that provides grant and concessional funds to developing countries for projects and activities that aim to protect the global environment. It is jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank. In 1994, 73 participating governments, including Canada, agreed to replenish the GEF with over US $2 billion to be committed over a three year period. GEF resources are available for projects and other activities addressing biodiversity, climate change, international waters and the depletion of the ozone layer. Habitat - the place or type of site where an organism or population naturally occurs. Species may require different habitats for different uses throughout their lifecycle.

Harmful Alien Organisms - organisms that enter an ecosystem in which they are not naturally known to exist - through deliberate or inadvertent actions by humans - and thereby pose a threat to native species.

In situ Conditions - conditions where genetic resources exist within ecosystems and natural habitats, and, in the case of domesticated or cultivated species, in the surroundings where they have developed their distinctive properties.

In situ Conservation - the conservation of ecosystems and natural habitats and the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in their natural surroundings and, in the case of domesticated or cultivated species, in the surroundings where they have developed their distinctive characteristics.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) - a holistic or integrated approach to controlling the risks and damage associated with natural predators, diseases and pests. It involves using site-specific information to determine the most effective combination of physical, chemical, biological, or cultural practices to reduce damage, while reducing impacts on the environment, biological diversity and human health. In agriculture, this means a farmer can use a combination of tillage practices or crop rotations, intercropping, crop mixes, strip isolation, etc. with certain chemical or biological control products, to effectively control damage to his crops and animals while having minimal impact on humans and the environment.

Landscapes - complexes of terrestrial ecosystems in geographically defined areas.

Living Modified Organisms - organisms that have been genetically modified through the applications of biotechnology, including organisms that have been modified by novel recombinant DNA techniques, as well mutagenesis or classical breeding and selection techniques.

Micro-organism - any organism that can be seen only with the aid of a microscope.

Mutagenesis - a process whereby the genetic information of an organism is changed in a stable, heritable manner, either in nature or induced experimentally via the use of chemicals or radiation. In agriculture, these genetic changes are used to improve agronomically useful traits.

Natural Resources Accounting - accounting for the state and quality of the environment and the natural resource base by deducting from the gross domestic product various aspects of environmental degradation, such as the value of pollution abatement and control expenditures, the cost of environmental damage, and the depletion of natural resources.

Non-renewable Resources - resources such as minerals, metals, natural gas and oil, whose reserves are depleted by their use. Pest Control Products - classes of substances that are generally referred to as insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, germicides, nematicides, bactericides, viricides and are either of a chemical or biological nature.

Protists - uni-cellular organisms.

Protected Area - geographically defined areas that are designed or regulated and managed to achieve specific conservation objectives.

Rare Species - small populations of species that are not currently endangered or vulnerable, but are at risk. These species are usually localized within restricted geographical area or habitats or are thinly scattered over a more extensive range. Rarity can be defined locally, regionally, provincially/ territorially, nationally or globally.

Rehabilitation - the return of a species, population or ecosystem to a healthy, functioning state.

RENEW - committee on the Recovery of Nationally Endangered Wildlife, consisting of government, non-government and private sector representatives. The RENEW committee prepares recovery plans at the multi-species or ecosystem level to benefit all components of biodiversity. Since RENEW was formed in 1988, cooperating agencies have spent more than $10 million on endangered species recovery efforts. Currently recovery teams are in operation for 33 species, with approved recovery plans in effect for 13 of them.

Resources Harvesting - the harvesting of biological resources for the purpose of subsistence or economic gain. Includes both aquatic and terrestrial resources. Restoration - the return of a species, population or ecosystem to its state prior to disturbance.

Speciation - the evolutionary process of species formation.

Summerfallow - land which is plowed and tilled frequently during the summer in preparation for the crop the following year.

Sustainable Development - development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable Harvest Rate - the rate of harvest that is within an ecosystem's natural ability to recover and regenerate.

Sustainable Use - the use of components of biodiversity in a way and at a rate that does not lead to their long-term decline thereby maintaining the potential for future generations to meet their needs and aspirations. Sustainable use in this Strategy refers to consumptive uses of biological resources.

Taxonomists - scientists who discover, describe, scientifically name and classify species.

Threatened Species - species that are likely to become endangered if the natural or human pressures causing them to be vulnerable are not reversed. Traditional Knowledge - knowledge rained from generations of living and working within a family, community or culture.

Vulnerable Species - species that are risk because they exist in low numbers or in restricted ranges due to over-exploitation, extensive habitat destruction or other factors.

Waterscapes - complexes of aquatic ecosystems in geographically defined areas.

Wild Flora and Fauna and other Wild Organisms - includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, invertebrates, plants, protists, viruses, fungi, algae and bacteria.

Section 22