OBEC Workshop on Conservation of Habitat

On October 28, 2017 OBEC (Ottawa Biosphere Eco-City) organized a workshop about conservation of habitat.  (This is, by the way, BEC’s 15th year of existence; almost 9 years in Ottawa.) Some 40 of us gathered at the Beaver Barracks from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm.  Five speakers gave excellent presentations:

+ Nick Stow of the City of Ottawa led off with “Ottawa’s Conservation & Stewardship Vision” — further to what he had presented at FCA’s “Environmental Focus” meeting of October 6, 2015.

+ Bryarly McEachern of Earth Path spoke about the many meanings of biodiversity.

+ Donna DuBreuil of Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre told of the mission of the Centre in the two distinct 15-year phases of its 30-year existence.

+ Jennifer Lamoureux of Rideau Valley Conservation Authority described three recent projects — Brewer Park Pond, Jock River Wetland, Black Rapids Creek.

+ Finally, Henri Goulet of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada gave evidence of the precipitous decline of insects, traceable to the extensive use of herbicides on corn crops.

The presentations were followed by break-out sessions.

The OBEC web site provides excellent illustrated summaries of each presentation and some key ideas coming out of the small group discussions.  Please go here: http://obec-evbo.ca/habitat-virtual-workshop.  The actual slides used by the presenters can be accessed at the end.

Erwin – 18 Dec 2017

P.S.: For an even more detailed presentation by Dr. Goulet, go here: http://ofnc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Herbicides_beetles_birds.pdf.

P.P.S.: A meta-analysis of 73 studies of insect decline concludes that the decline has been at a “shocking” rate of 2.5%/year over the past 25-30 years.

From The Guardian of Feb 10, 2019:

“The main cause of the decline is agricultural intensification,” [one of the authors] said. “That means the elimination of all trees and shrubs that normally surround the fields, so there are plain, bare fields that are treated with synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.” He said the demise of insects appears to have started at the dawn of the 20th century, accelerated during the 1950s and 1960s and reached “alarming proportions” over the last two decades.

He thinks new classes of insecticides introduced in the last 20 years, including neonicotinoids and fipronil, have been particularly damaging as they are used routinely and persist in the environment: “They sterilise the soil, killing all the grubs.”

Source article and Abstract:

Francisco Sánchez-Bayo and Kris A.G. Wyckhuys, “Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers,” Biological Conservation, Vol 232 April 2019 pages 8-27.