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2004–2007 Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

A Summary

Sustainable development – because quality of life counts!

A Word from the Minister of the Environment

As members of the global community, we sometimes forget our duties and obligations towards – as well as our reliance upon – the very thing that creates, conditions and sustains life in the world as we know it. I'm referring to biological diversity.

Fortunately, we are becoming more aware of the value of our individual contributions to the protection, support and sustainable use of all species, their individual variations and their habitats. We are also gaining a better understanding of the social and economic importance of these biological resources.

If there is one area in which sustainable development is most significant, it is in the conservation of biodiversity. The Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan is therefore an important component of the government’s sustainable development plan. The number of partners involved in the project, the plan's underlying principles, the human realities the plan targets, and the partnership and participation our plan calls upon reflect both the complexity and efforts involved in the implementation of sustainable development.

The Strategy and Action Plan are gifts we are giving ourselves in order that life as we know it may go on. As such, we will endeavour to become more ecologically minded so that we may be in harmony with nature as we go about our daily lives.

What is Biodiversity?

Biological diversity, also referred to as biodiversity, is the term given to all the species and ecosystems that make up Planet Earth as well as the ecological processes of which they are a part. Biological diversity encompasses all that is living, including the variations created by genetic manipulation and selective breeding. This diversity forms the biosphere, that mix of organisms that makes it possible for human beings to exist on our little blue planet.

Quebec is one of the biggest regions in North America, covering nearly 1.7 million square kilometres. This territory, which is three times bigger than France, is home to almost 40,000 wild plant and animal species, millions of domestic animals and a whole range of horticultural and agricultural crops. An inventory of Quebec's natural entities includes tundra, taiga, spruce and balsam fir forests, hardwood forests and the St. Lawrence River.


The Importance of Action

The interdependence of nature and human organizations is tremendous. The close relationship between all natural and anthropic systems calls for increased and sustained collaboration to resolve the conflicts of use and reduce stresses on the planet's vital systems.

There are many reasons why Quebec should find better ways to manage its biodiversity, including the following:

  • Global decline of biodiversity

  • Quebec’s ecosystems are very useful and highly coveted for their resources

  • Quebec’s economic future and competitiveness is contingent upon the sound management of its biodiversity

  • Threatening invasive species

  • Current knowledge of biodiversity enables more efficient action

  • Sustainable development measures must take biological diversity into account

The 2004-2007 Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan: A Concrete Answer to the Preservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity

The Government of Quebec recently adopted a Strategy and Action Plan that constitutes its 2004-2007 Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. The mandate to coordinate and develop this plan has been assigned to the Minister of the Environment.

Our plan is the fruit of public consultation and a vast process of interministerial collaborations and commitments, the aim of which is to reach the general objectives for the preservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Quebec's biodiversity priorities are as follows:

  • Wildlife

  • Forests

  • Agricultural and aquatic environments

  • Energy

  • Mines

  • Northern areas

  • Urban areas

  • Biotechnology

  • Education

With its 2004-2007 Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, Quebec intends to:

  • Preserve Quebec's natural heritage by creating a network of protected zones that are representative of its biodiversity, and by protecting threatened or vulnerable species.

  • Help maintain biological diversity during the course of planning and implementing activities related to energy, wildlife, forestry, agriculture, mining, industry, tourism, small- and large-scale urban activities and transportation.

  • Be mindful of biological diversity when implementing government policy pertaining to genetically modified organisms, climate change, water management, and civil and environmental security.

  • Harmonize civil society – notably Amerindian societies, youth, non-governmental organizations and regional and local public organizations – with the preservation of biological diversity.

  • Encourage and develop biodiversity knowledge.

  • Be a part of conservation efforts and the sustainable use of biodiversity in Canada and throughout the world.


Major Sustainable Development Intervention

Sustainable development must be supported by tangible action. The Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan is one of the government’s most ambitious sustainable development initiatives.

  • The plan covers the environmental, social and economical aspects of Quebec’s biological resources.

  • The plan is based on clear and mobilizing objectives that aim at tangible, measurable changes.

  • The plan includes the preservation of biodiversity and its sustainable use in all large-scale projects, strategies and government sectorial and intersectorial plans.

  • The plan includes an annual accountability exercise with indicators for results and follow-ups.

The Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan brings together the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity. This international agreement, which guides Quebec’s actions, addresses the following:

  • Conservation of biodiversity

  • Sustainable use of the constituent elements of biodiversity

  • Equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of genetic resources.

The Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan Features the Key Principles of Sustainable Development:

  • Satisfying the essential needs of human beings as they pertain to quality of life.

  • Social equality for the benefit of future generations within the context of intergenerational equity.

  • Participation and commitment of all parties: ministries, government and non-governmental organizations, youth, Amerindian communities, business, etc.

  • More effective action by providing access to knowledge.

  • Prevention and precaution.

  • Respect for the supporting capacity of ecosystems.

  • Responsible conservation.

  • Partnership and cooperation.

Biodiversity: An Asset of Tremendous Value

Throughout the ages, scientific and technological development, art, culture and economics depend on nature. The entire existence, evolution and history of mankind are inseparably linked with the biosphere.

Nature's legacy is worth its weight in gold. Such ecological wealth can be fully appreciated by measuring the roles that living species play in the ecosystems. The splendours of nature also have aesthetic and cultural value.

The experts are interested in the scientific value of biological diversity. But, above all, it is undoubtedly food value and the economic importance of biological resources that draw our attention.

In Quebec, biological resources are a mainstay of sustainable development for the economy.

In 1999, in Quebec, the primary exploitation of agricultural, forestry and wildlife resources earned 21 billion dollars and directly employed over 200,000 people.


The Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan’s Commitments to Biodiversity

Some targeted actions and sectors:

1. Land use

  • Create protected zones that are representative of diversity throughout Quebec, for a total area of 8%.

  • By 2007, create 10 new ecological reserves, protect 100 exceptional forest ecosystems, recognize 50 natural reserves on privately owned land and create a national park in Nunavik.

  • By March 2006, introduce new requirements for the preservation of biodiversity in the general forest management plans.

  • By 2007, integrate into the annual and five-year plans of forestry industries the location of threatened or vulnerable species on their land and identify the protective measures to be applied.

  • By 2005, integrate the Politique de protection des rives, du littoral et des plaines inondables into all land use schematics of the county regional municipalities (CRMs).

2. Fauna and flora

  • In 2005, designate 25 threatened or vulnerable species and 36 of their habitats.

  • By 2006, draft, publish and implement action plans for each animal species designated as threatened or vulnerable.

  • By 2006, draft and implement action plans for each animal species designated as threatened or vulnerable.

  • Broaden the scope of the Politique de débits réservés écologiques (ecological reserved flows policy for the protection of fish and fish habitats) to apply to other aquatic ecosystem components.

  • By 2007, reintroduce the striped bass to the St. Lawrence River.

  • By 2007, protect 100% of the known habitats of threatened or vulnerable fauna and flora in public forests.

3. Agricultural activities

  • Incorporate the principle of ecoconditionality into financial assistance programs for agricultural producers.

  • Set up pilot projects for the restoration of natural habitats in agricultural areas.

  • By 2005, in agricultural areas, support the establishment of wooded corridors along rivers and streams and linking natural habitats.

4. Industrial activities

  • By 2007, have industries characterize the industrial discharge of all mining establishments.

  • By 2007, increase the number of new projects involving the implementation of better business practices, including environmental management in large businesses and SMEs.

  • By 2007, implement a sustainable ecotourism policy.

5. Transportation

  • By 2007, equip the Ministère des Transports with an ISO 14001 environmental management system.

  • By 2005, apply ecological management practices to over 90% of the green spaces created by highway right-of-ways.


Participants to the Government Plan


  • Affaires municipales, Sport et Loisir

  • Agriculture, Pêcheries et Alimentation

  • Culture et Communications

  • Développement économique et régional et Recherche

  • Éducation

  • Emploi, Solidarité sociale et Famille

  • Environnement

  • Relations internationales

  • Ressources naturelles, Faune et Parcs

  • Sécurité publique

  • Transports


  • Fondation de la faune du Québec

  • Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones

  • Société des établissements de plein air du Québec

  • Tourisme Québec

Extragovernmental partners

  • Centre de la biodiversité du Québec

  • Conseil de l'environnement et du développement durable – 02

  • Fédération des pourvoyeurs du Québec

  • Fédération québécoise de la faune

  • Fédération québécoise des zecs

  • Hydro-Québec and Fondation Hydro-Québec

  • Union québécoise pour la conservation de la nature

For more information on Quebec’s Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, visit the Ministère de l’Environnement’ Web site at


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