Pacific rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum), photo by Brian Klinkenberg.

Biodiversity in British Columbia is protected in several ways and one of the most prominent ones is through a system of ecological reserves.  Ecological reserves are sites that have been set aside in the province for their biological, geological or genetic value.   They protect representative examples of the ecosystem types of the province, as well as rare species and, sometimes, special features of biological or geological importance. Protecting spaces is as important, if not more important, than protecting species.  These sites provide homes for our wild species, and offer protection for species at risk.  They complement sites protected by our National Park system.

BC's ecological reserves were identified between 1964 and 1974 through the International Biological Program (IBP), which was "aimed at the establishment of a system of representative terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems around the world" (BC Parks 2011). Canada participated in this program, and sites identified through IBP survey work formed the initial focus of the ecological reserves system in BC--new sites have been added to the list since that time.   "In 1971, the Legislature gave unanimous approval to the Ecological Reserve Act. With this act, British Columbia became the first province in Canada to formalize and give permanent protected status to ecological reserves." (BC Parks 2011).   Today, a system of ecological reserves is protected throughout British Columbia, including such significant sites as Robson Bight, the Skagit River Forest, Mara Meadows, Oak Bay Islands, Cougar Canyon, and Skagit River Rhododendrons Ecological Reserve.

Click here to view an alphabetical listing of all Ecological Reserves in BC.

Click here to view a map of the Ecological Reserves of BC.



View a clickable map of Ecological Reserves in British Columbia.
Learn more about the Friends of Ecological Reserves.

BC Ecological Reserve Act.

Ecological Reserve Legislation in British Columbia.



Please cite these pages as:

Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. Biodiversity of British Columbia []. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

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