Why Biodiversity Matters

Caring for Nature: The Nex̱wlélex̱wm/Bowen Island Biodiversity Conservation Initiative

Nature is who we are on Bowen

Nex̱wlélex̱wm / Bowen Island is not just a place; it’s a living, breathing tapestry of Nature’s finest displays, from lush rainforests and dry coastal bluffs to streams and wetlands and vibrant marine life. Those of us who call it home share a unique bond with the island’s Nature, a connection that goes beyond simple geography to touch the very essence of who we are.

Nature. I am grateful for her. I am nourished by her. We take care of her... she takes care of us.
- Bowen resident

Biodiversity is a measure of Nature's health

So, we might ask, how is Nature doing on Bowen Island? When assessing the health of Nature in any place, whether Bowen Island or Borneo or our entire planet, scientists consider its biodiversity—short for biological diversity – as an important measure of Nature’s health and resilience. Biodiversity is the rich variety of life on Earth— and it shapes every corner of Bowen Island, from the whispering trees of Crippen Regional Park to the rugged shores of the Wild Coast Nature Refuge. It’s the mosaic of plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms, along with their genetic diversity and the complex ecosystems they form.

A healthy biodiversity impacts all of us

Nex̱wlélex̱wm / Bowen Island is a mosaic of different ecological habitats – mature forests, dry coastal bluffs, wetlands, lakes and streams, and intertidal shores. Each such habitat has its own mix of life; the more diverse the life is in each habitat, the more likely its ecological function can remain healthy and resilient in the face of the climate extremes that are coming. Each species, no matter how small, has an important role to play and helps maintain the balance of the ecosystem. The decay of fallen trees, for instance, nourishes the soil, promoting lush plant growth which in turn supports a wider range of animal species.

The forests and marine plants of Bowen are more than just habitats; they are guardians of the climate, absorbing carbon dioxide and helping stabilize our climate. This natural process of carbon sequestration is vital in our fight against climate change, making the island not just a refuge for wildlife, but a player in global environmental health.

a painting of a woodland featuring small birds in a berry bush, large winding roots of a tree, and many small multicoloured mushrooms, characteristic of Bowen Island's biodiversity.

The value of Bowen Island's diverse Nature extends beyond ecology

It is also the backbone of our local economy. Friends, family, and tourists visit the island, drawn by its natural beauty, hiking trails, and wildlife. Their spending supports local businesses and artisans, who find inspiration in the island’s landscapes to create unique, beautiful crafts that reflect the spirit of Bowen.

Bowen’s forests, wetlands and sea shores with their abundance of native species and habitats are living classrooms where children learn awareness, appreciation, and understanding of the natural world through direct contact with nature. Local schools and programs leverage conservation efforts to teach young people about environmental stewardship, instilling a sense of responsibility and reverence for nature that can last a lifetime.

Biodiversity is a blueprint for sustainable living

As Bowen Island grows, the challenge remains to harmonize human activity with the preservation of its unique natural landscapes. Biodiversity is not merely an indicator of ecological health but a blueprint for sustainable living. By cherishing and protecting our local biodiversity, we enhance our own quality of life and ensure that future generations can also enjoy the natural wonders of Bowen Island. This isn’t just conservation; it’s a commitment to life itself and our Bowen home.

The images on this page are from the Snug Cove Gateway Mural by artists Di, Paula Love and Sarah Haxby and other islanders. We appreciate their permission to use them here. Find out more >

For information contact caring@bowenislandconservancy.org