British Columbia occupies 95 million
hectares, with a diverse physiography, climate, flora and
fauna. Three of the four broad continental climatic regions
are represented here –
dry, humid temperate, and polar. The
interaction of these three systems, combined with the
province's land systems, creates 14 distinct climates. The
variety of the wildlife resource, one of the richest in North
America, arises from this interrelationship of land
and climate. See our Biodiversity
in BC brochure (201KB PDF)
There are 1140 native species of vertebrates in
BC, comprised of the following:
- 488 species of birds
- 480 species of fish
- 136 species of mammals
- 20 species of amphibians
- 16 species of reptiles
Three-quarters of Canada's mammal species
are found in British Columbia, and 24 of those species are
exclusive to our province. Additional species of vertebrates
are regularly recorded here, perhaps as a result of the
expansion of home ranges, and of more intensive searching
by professional biologists and naturalists.
Over 360 bird species breed in the
province, 162 of
those (55%) breed nowhere else in Canada. Invertebrate
species probably number between 50,000 and 70,000, including
35,000 species of insects.
British Columbia has an estimated 1596
native vascular plants species, (nearly 27% are considered
at risk). Approximately 1000 bryophytes (mosses
and liverworts), 1600 lichens, 522 species of attached
algae and well over 10,000 species of fungi are present
in the province.
Canada is a signatory country to the Convention
on Biological Diversity. The Canadian Biodiversity
Strategy was prepared as part of Canada's commitment
to the convention. The
Conservation Framework website provides information on
British Columbia’s new approach to maintaining
species and ecosystems in the province.
Descriptions of the ongoing efforts to
conserve biodiversity in B.C. may be found in the Province's
response to the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy: Initiatives
for the Conservation of Biodiversity in British Columbia.
The Endangered Species and Ecosystems in British Columbia website
provides links and detailed information for species
at risk in British Columbia. Create lists by species
group(s), at risk status, and/or forest district for
Red– and Blue–listed species in British
Columbia, and link to species summaries and relevant
publications and references.
To learn more about the biodiversity
in B.C. and related subjects – choose from
the list at left. Check out Related Links for additional
information on biodiversity, conservation and more.
Illustrations by D. Gunn