Over the past few decades, biodiversity has been declining at an alarming rate. With species threatened by extinction making up roughly 25% of the IUCN Red List alone, it’s clear that biodiversity loss can have severe ramifications for our ecosystems, and consequentially — human survival. Pollinators and beneficial microbes remain crucial to crop yield and health, while forests and oceans provide valuable ecosystem services such as storing atmospheric carbon. Despite this, the global biodiversity crisis is often overlooked and undervalued by decision-makers and the general public.
As a call to action, the IBioS program aims to study and support the transformative social and ecological changes needed to arrest biodiversity and ecosystem function loss, as well as how to restore ecosystem capacity to adapt to global change.
Led by UBC Science — in collaboration with UBC Arts, Land and Food Systems, Forestry and the Sauder School of Business — The Interdisciplinary Biodiversity Solutions Collaboratory (IBioS) program aims to integrate a science-to-solutions approach to research, training, policy, and communication. The program draws upon UBC faculty's strengths in fundamental biodiversity science while leveraging existing relationships and partnerships at local, regional, national, and international levels.
The IBioS team is currently hard at work developing new projects, including UBC's first biodiversity-focused podcast series, a new anthropogenic wilderness graduate course in the Institute of Resources Environment and Sustainability, and a research project on bear conservation, among others.
"Biodiversity Speaks" (available on Spotify and Apple podcasts) is a podcast series of interviews with UBC faculty conducting research on aspects of biodiversity conservation, restoration, or sustainable use. Hosted by Dr. Helina Jolly, guest speakers are invited to share their personal and professional development within the field of biodiversity conservation.
Other upcoming projects include the Anthropogenic Wilderness course – a cross-listed graduate course building on the lessons, insights, and experiences gained from Indigenous research works at UBC. Bringing understanding and insights from indigenous history and contributions, the course aims to investigate the scope and definition of “anthropogenic wilderness” and how it intertwines with the indigenous way of life. The course also aims to develop case studies with references from both Canadian and global Indigenous examples, supporting UBC’s continued commitment to global Indigenous rights and reconciliation.
Further, IBioS is fostering a unique collaboration between faculty in the Sauder School of Business, and Faculties of Forestry and Land and Food Systems to increase our understanding of human behaviours towards bears on the urban fringe, as well as sponsoring a SEEDS student project aimed at mapping mammal species on the UBC-V campus. New faculty hired under the auspices of the IBioS Collaboratory joined the team in July 2022, bringing new energy, ideas, and exciting projects that are beginning to unfold.