Biodiversity in B.C.

British Columbia occupies 95 million hectares, with a diverse physiography, climate, flora and fauna. Three of the four broad continental climatic regions are represented here – dry, humid temperate, and polar. The interaction of these three systems, combined with the province's land systems, creates 14 distinct climates. The variety of the wildlife resource, one of the richest in North America, arises from this interrelationship of land and climate. See our Biodiversity in BC brochure (201KB PDF)

There are 1140 native species of vertebrates in BC, comprised of the following:

  • 488 species of birds
  • 480 species of fish
  • 136 species of mammals
  • 20 species of amphibians
  • 16 species of reptiles

Three-quarters of Canada's mammal species are found in British Columbia, and 24 of those species are exclusive to our province. Additional species of vertebrates are regularly recorded here, perhaps as a result of the expansion of home ranges, and of more intensive searching by professional biologists and naturalists.


Over 360 bird species breed in the province, 162 of those (55%) breed nowhere else in Canada. Invertebrate species probably number between 50,000 and 70,000, including 35,000 species of insects.

British Columbia has an estimated 1596 native vascular plants species, (nearly 27% are considered species at risk). Approximately 1000 bryophytes (mosses and liverworts), 1600 lichens, 522 species of attached algae and well over 10,000 species of fungi are present in the province.

Canada is a signatory country to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Canadian Biodiversity Strategy was prepared as part of Canada's commitment to the convention. The Conservation Framework website provides information on British Columbia’s new approach to maintaining species and ecosystems in the province.

Descriptions of the ongoing efforts to conserve biodiversity in B.C. may be found in the Province's response to the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy: Initiatives for the Conservation of Biodiversity in British Columbia.

The Endangered Species and Ecosystems in British Columbia website provides links and detailed information for species at risk in British Columbia. Create lists by species group(s), at risk status, and/or forest district for Red– and Blue–listed species in British Columbia, and link to species summaries and relevant publications and references.

To learn more about the biodiversity in B.C. and related subjects – choose from the list at left. Check out Related Links for additional information on biodiversity, conservation and more.


Illustrations by D. Gunn