Land-based ecosystems (which have been grouped here as forests, meadows and bluffs) are under pressure from human activities, particularly in high population areas such as southern Vancouver Island. Many areas have been damaged or replaced with urban, agricultural or suburban development. This makes the protection of remnant natural areas all the more important. Here are some ways you can help:
- Learn more about the particular ecosystem you are interested in; good sources of information include the public library, the Internet, local naturalist groups and guided walks and tours in local wilderness areas.
- Encourage municipal, regional, provincial and federal government agencies to protect valuable natural ecosystems in your area, and support government initiatives that create incentives for private landowners to protect the natural areas on their property.
- Recreate responsibly! By observing signs and park rules, staying on designated trails, keeping dogs on a leash where requested (and picking up after them), and not removing plants or animals from the wild, you can help to ensure the survival of these natural ecosystems.
- If you have a particularly valuable forest, meadow or bluff on your land, consider placing a covenant on the land to preserve it in perpetuity, or to set conditions for development on the land. Donating or selling land to a conservation organization may also be an option. The Land Conservancy of BC
- Consider landscaping and gardening with native plants. By doing so, you can create food sources and habitat for wildlife, use less water, eliminate the need for artificial pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers (thus protecting beneficial insects, water quality and human health), and reduce the maintenance requirements of your garden.
- If you own land adjacent to the ocean or fresh water bodies, check out the information on how to limit the impacts of development on local ecosystems. Examples include using native vegetation to stabilize slopes and filter contamination, and tips for planning docks and other structures.
- Try not to disturb wildlife, especially if the animal is nesting or with its young. Observe from a respectful distance, and keep dogs under control. Learn about other practices that can help protect animals and habitat.
- Help prevent the spread of invasive species, which can damage natural areas.