The natural environment we value (forests, fresh water, habitat) both needs and provides protection from the impacts of climate change. Natural areas hold cultural significance, provide clean air and water and cool down urban areas. Soils and vegetation capture rainwater, protect the foreshore and provide shade.
Regional ecosystems include natural and urban forests, wetlands, riparian areas near streams, peatlands and marine areas. Marine areas provide habitat for fish and wildlife, including endangered killer whales, salmon, and shorebirds. The ocean has spiritual, cultural and ceremonial value for local First Nations, and it provides traditional foods. Salt marshes and seagrasses can store carbon and mitigate flooding in coastal communities.
Looking for more detail on our nature and ecosytems strategies?Download the Nature and Ecosystems Roadmap
What you will find in this roadmap
Natural spaces provide ecosystem services that help the region respond to a changing climate — by capturing carbon, storing and cleaning stormwater, cooling our city streets, and protecting coastal communities. They also have tremendous cultural and spiritual importance, provide us with a sense of place, and enhance livability.
The region’s natural spaces and ecosystems are at risk. Human activities, including development and climate change impacts, result in ecosystem change and loss. This reduces the critical ecosystem services we can receive, now and in the future. To increase our resilience, we need to accelerate our climate actions to protect, restore, and connect ecosystems.
We created a roadmap to help us reach a low-carbon, resilient future. By 2050, we can expand the restoration and protection of natural areas and connect a regional green infrastructure network. We can also recognize—in all of our work —the value of natural assets as critical to human and ecosystem health.