Beautiful path in a forest during a vibrant summer day. Taken in Raft Cove Provincial Park, Northern Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

2. Understanding Biodiversity in Coastal Forests


What is Biodiversity? A simple definition might be

Biodiversity is the variety of living things, and the variety of ecosystems that support them.

What do we know about Biodiversity?

Very little in fact! There are approximately 3 million species worldwide, not counting bacteria. But, we have only identified a small fraction of these species, and have only a rudimentary understanding of the relationships within ecosystems.

How do we maintain biodiversity when we know so little about it?

Partial Answer:

To maintain biodiversity it is necessary to invest in protecting intact lands. Preferably old growth forests as they support the largest variety of species and ecological process, and especially the biodiversity of ancient systems we still don’t know much about.

Simply put, we must protect enough land to be confident that known and unknown biodiversity will persist over time.

Read more about Old Growth.

The big questions: How much land needs to be protected and where are these lands?

Let's start at home, by looking at geographical and political maps of our study area, the Sunshine Coast Natural Resource District (SCNRD).

Click the blue box above to view a list of pages in this section of the website.

Glossary of Terms

Biomass: refers to the total amount of organic matter (i.e., anything that comes from plants and animals). 

Biogeoclimatic (BEC) Zone: the classification system used to identify an area based on the dominant type of vegetation, climate, and soil characteristics at its climax 

Climax Old-Growth: the final stage of a forest stand when left undisturbed by humans 

Biogeoclimatic Zone Abbreviations

  • AT: Alpine Tundra
  • BG: Bunchgrass
  • BWBS: Boreal White and Black Spruce
  • CDF: Coastal Douglas-Fir
  • CWH: Coastal Western Hemlock
  • ESSF: Engelmann Spruce - Subalpine Fir
  • ICH: Interior Cedar - Hemlock
  • IDF: Interior Douglas-Fir
  • MH: Mountain Hemlock
  • MS: Montane Spruce
  • PP: Ponderosa Pine
  • SBPS: Sub-Boreal Pine - Spruce
  • SBS: Sub-Boreal Spruce
  • SWB: Spruce - Willow - Birch

Landscape Units of the SCNRD

  • Bishop
  • Brem
  • Brittain
  • Bunster
  • Bute East
  • Bute West
  • Chapman
  • Cortes
  • Haslam
  • Homathko
  • Homfray
  • Howe
  • Jervis
  • Lois
  • Narrows
  • Quatam

Biogeoclimatic Subzone Codes

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