Sustaining Biodiversity within Agricultural Landscapes

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					Sustaining Biodiversity within
  Agricultural Landscapes
      Sylvia von Schuckmann
         October 27, 2010



                                 1
          What is biodiversity?
• Defined as the variety of all life forms plus the
  habitats and natural processes that support
  them.

• Includes all forms of life: bacteria, viruses, and
  fungi, grasses, shrubs, trees, worms, insects,
  amphibians, reptiles, fish birds, mammals,
  agricultural crops, and humans.

                                                       2
    About 95% of all living species
• Are hidden from view in the soil
• These life forms – such as worms, ants, mites,
  nematodes and bacteria – play a huge role in
  agricultural productivity
• Above ground diversity reflects below ground
  diversity
• The more diversity above ground, the more
  diversity below ground (after Biodiversity Conservation Guide
  for Farmers and Ranchers in Alberta)



                                                                  3
      Biodiversity and Conflicts with
                Agriculture
• On a provincial scale, most wildlife do not
  negatively affect agriculture production
• But impacts to individual producers can be
  significant
• Producers can manage for biodiversity without
  necessarily increasing the risk of wildlife-related
  conflicts
• The key is to find an acceptable balance between
  the benefits and potential costs of managing for
  biodiversity
   – Programs like the Provincial Agriculture Zone Wildlife
     Program (PAZWP) can help.
                                                              4
 How does ‘Sustaining Biodiversity
within Agricultural Landscapes’ relate
   to the theme of this workshop?


• Workshop Theme: The Economics of
  Private Land Conservation



                                         5
   There are several answers to that
               question:
1.
• Agricultural Lands are a significant portion of
   private lands in BC

• Many are found in valley bottoms &
  grasslands in the province that are:
  – Productive for both agriculture and biodiversity
  – Important or critical to the survival of many
    species at risk or species potentially at risk
                                                       6
                    Cont’d
2.
If farms are not economically viable, the
   opportunity :
• to manage farms to produce agricultural
   products and provide farm employment is
   reduced or lost
• If farmland is lost to development, so is the
   opportunity to manage farms in a way that
   benefits biodiversity
                                                  7
    Managing for biodiversity is the
 foundation of sustainable agricultural
       production & provides:
• Buffer against variability in productivity
• Improved pollination
• Increased soil biodiversity increase fertility,
  nutrient cycling and storage, long-term soil
  productivity
• Greater crop yields
• Control of invasive plants, diseases
• Reduced inputs/costs of fertilizer and pesticides
• Options for adjustment to climate change            8
 So when talking about the economics
     of private land conservation -
Key questions are:
1. How do you support the economic viability of
   agriculture?

2. How do you provide the agricultural
   community – farmers and ranchers – tools
   and resources to incorporate biodiversity in a
   way that contributes to sustainability of their
   farm business?
                                                 9
       In the Last 7 Years in BC
• Huge strides forward !

• New knowledge, tools, incentives and a
  framework for enhancing agricultural /
  environmental sustainability in BC




                                           10
Two Canada – BC Funding Agreements
• The Agriculture Policy Framework (APF) (2003 –
  2008) and the new 5-year Canada-BC Growing
  Forward Program

• Multi-million $ funding delivered in partnership
  with:
  – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  – Agricultural Research Development Corporation
    (ARDCorp)
  – Province of BC (Ministry of Agriculture and Land;
                          Ministry of Environment)

                                                        11
  The Resources provided by the APF
        and Growing Forward
• Provide farmers with information, new tools and cost-
  shared funding to implement Beneficial Management
  Practices (BMPs)

• Enabled partnerships to develop new resources for
  farmers (tools and incentive funding) to advance
  sustainable agriculture. Partnerships include:
   – Agricultural industry (ARDCorp), fed & prov government
     agencies, & non-profit organizations such as:
   – Ducks Unlimited Canada, Habitat Conservation Trust
     Foundation, BC Conservation Foundation

                                                              12
In summary: Who has a role in keeping
  agricultural lands economically and
     environmentally sustainable?
Obviously farmers and ranchers.
Agricultural organizations – like ARDCorp – partner in
  Growing Forward
Governments – federal, provincial & local – partner to
  programs like Growing Forward, Regional District of
  East Kootenays (RDEK) partner with EKCP
Non-Government Organizations - partners provide
  funding for program development and BMPs
Communities – RDEK funding programs like the Columbia
  Valley Local Conservation Fund, VanCity EnviroFund
                                                     13
     VanCity EnviroFund provides an
              example of:
Growing interest of communities in promoting
  sustainable agriculture

VanCity VISA cardholders can elect to contribute to
  the EnviroFund grant program

This year card holders chose to use the funds to
  support sustainable agriculture projects on the
  Lower Mainland and east coast of Vancouver
  Island

                                                      14
  While much has been accomplished
        over the last 7 years -
• There is much to be done by all who support
  sustainable agriculture

• Congratulations to the East Kootenays
  Conservation Program and the RDEK contributors
  of the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund

• You are among the leaders in the province in
  showing the way of the future in conservation
  including your support of agriculture
  sustainability.
                                                  15
    Part 2 of this talk will provide an
               overview of:
Two programs under the Canada-BC Growing
  Forward Agreement designed to promote
  economic / environmental sustainability in
  agriculture:

• Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) Program

• Biodiversity Farm Plan Program
                                               16
    For more information about:
The many programs under the Canada-BC Growing
  Forward Agreement that are designed to
  promote sustainable agriculture:
• Contact:
  – Geoff Hughes-Games,
     • BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, 604 556-3102
       Geoff.HughesGames@gov.bc.ca

  – Agricultural Research & Development Corporation at:
     • Reg Ens, Toll free: 1-866-522-3447
     • http://www.ardcorp.ca/


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