Biodiversity Outcomes Framework

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Biodiversity - The Insurance Policy for Life Itself

Canada's natural wealth is the envy of many nations and is supported by a strong tradition of conservation and sustainable use. An important component of this wealth is Canada's biodiversity – the variety of genes, species and ecosystems and the ecological processes that allow them to evolve and adapt to a changing world.

Canadians care about biodiversity because it touches their lives, and their livelihoods, in very direct and personal ways.

  • Canadians have rallied to support their special places and species at risk because they instinctively understand the aesthetic, recreational, spiritual and cultural importance of biodiversity.
  • They also understand how biological resources meet their basic needs for food and shelter and create jobs for thousands of people who work in fisheries, forestry, agriculture and tourism.

Canadians may not make the connection, however, between biodiversity conservation and many of the things they take for granted:

  • Clean air, clean water and fertile soil
  • Climate regulation and control of floods and other natural hazards
  • Protection from pest and disease outbreaks
  • Prescription drugs and traditional medicines
  • Food security
  • Ecological and economic resilience

It is only when these begin to disappear that the connections become obvious. Biological diversity and everything it provides is in reality our natural insurance policy in a world that is continually changing, often in dramatic and unpredictable ways.

The Biodiversity Outcomes Framework: Building on a Decade of Federal–Provincial–Territorial Cooperation

For more than ten years, federal, provincial and territorial governments have been working together to sustain Canada's biodiversity. Together they designed a blueprint for the conservation and sustainable use of Canada's living resources called the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy. Some provinces and territories also have their own biodiversity strategies.

The biodiversity outcomes framework complements and builds on that work. It will be used to identify and link current and future priorities, to engage Canadians in planning and implementation and to report on progress.

Biodiversity Outcomes Framework: Focus on "Why" "What" "How"

Vision: A society that lives and develops as part of nature, values the diversity of life, takes no more than can be replenished and leaves to future generations a nurturing and dynamic world, rich in biodiversity. (Canadian Biodiversity Strategy)

Mission: Working together to sustain Canada's natural assets and enrich the lives of Canadians.

What Conservation and Use Outcomes
Long Description for Biodiversity Outcomes Framework: Focus on "Why" "What" "How"

Biodiversity Outcomes Framework: Focus on "Why" "What" "How"

(Conservation and Use Outcomes)
(Benefits for People)
Healthy and Diverse Ecosystems
Clean air, water and soil and provision of ecological services essential for human well-being
Viable Populations of Species
Sustainable yield of food and fibre

Cultural, aesthetic, spiritual and recreational values
Genetic Resources and Adaptive Potential
New food varieties, pharma- ceuticals, bioenergy

Increased production, and resistance to pests and disease
Sustainable Use of Biological Resources
Sustainable Use of Biological Resources
  • How (Management Outcomes)
    • Assess
      • Research and information support planning and decision-making
    • Plan

      • Biodiversity outcomes integrated into land, water and resource management plans in a participatory manner
    • Do
      • Informed and enabled implementation
    • Track
      • Monitoring and reporting systems support continuous improvement

Biodiversity Outcomes: What We Want to Achieve

  • Healthy and Diverse Ecosystems: Reducing human impacts and restoring damaged ecosystems enhance the productivity and resilience of our ecosystems, and preserve the goods and services essential to our well-being.
  • Viable Populations of Species: Maintaining the structure and function of ecosystems requires the full complement of native species. Conservation at the ecosystem level sustains most species, but special efforts are needed for some.
  • Genetic Resources and Adaptive Potential Maintained: Genetic diversity is nature's insurance policy. It makes increased production, assures ecological resilience and creates options for future innovation.
  • Sustainable Use of Biological Resources: Ecologically sustainable production and consumption of natural resources assure stable jobs, traditional lifestyles, long-term food security and human health.

Biodiversity Outcomes Framework: Focus on the "What"

What Conservation and Use Outcomes

Long Description for What Conservation and Use Outcomes


  • Healthy and Diverse Ecosystems
    • Productive, resilient, diverse ecosystems with the capacity to recover and adapt; and
    • Damaged ecosystems restored.
  • Viable Populations of Species
    • Full complement of native species, required for maintenance of ecosystem function;
    • Improved status of species at risk;
    • No new species extinctions due to human activity; and
    • Species assemblages maintained in their ecological regions.
  • Genetic Resources and Adaptive Potential
    • Full complement of genetic diversity of all species in situ and ex situ (domestic and wild); and
    • Geographic distribution of species necessary to ensure adaptive potential
  • Sustainable Use of Biological Resources
    • Production and consumption of natural resources within ecological limits and thresholds to support economic capacity, livelihoods, local food security and human health; and
    • Availability of local and Indigenous knowledge, innovations and practices associated with ecosystems, species and genetic resources.

How We Will Get There: Using an Ecosystem and Adaptive Management Approach to Achieve Shared Outcomes

In an ecosystem approach, ecological goals are considered at the same time as economic and social goals. It places the trade-offs front and centre when decisions are being made.

Adaptive management is a cyclical process of taking stock, planning and decision-making, followed by implementation and tracking to see whether management responses to problems improve over time based on new knowledge and better information.

Management Outcomes: The "How"

Long Description for Management Outcomes: The "How"

Circular graphic depicting the cyclical elements in the process of using an ecosystem and adaptive management approach. The first step is to assess the state of biodiversity through monitoring and to report the results. This step consists of research work, and produces information to support planning and decision-making. The second step is to plan. This step involves integrating desired biodiversity outcomes into land, water and resource management plans. The third step is to do the work. This step consists of informed and enabled implementation. The fourth step is to track performance through monitoring and report on performance to support continuous improvement.

A Commitment to Engage Canadians in Achieving Shared Outcomes

Moving to a more outcomes-based approach that more directly engages Canadians will be an incremental process that requires input from everyone. Governments are committed to taking the lead in these efforts by providing Canadians with the opportunity to:

  • develop a deeper understanding of the value of biodiversity and the role that natural systems play in keeping our communities safe and healthy, sustaining jobs and traditional lifestyles, and creating options and opportunities for the future.
  • receive and access information on the state of Canada's forests, farmlands, oceans, inland waters and arctic ecosystems.
  • become partners in developing and achieving the long-term vision and goals for the natural communities that keep this country healthy and prosperous.

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