Canada's first urban biodiversity hub launches today in Montreal

Biopolis is a new initiative to accelerate the growth of biodiversity projects in Montreal and spread them to other Canadian cities

MONTREAL, Dec. 5 2016 /CNW/ - Science, industry, government and communities are coming together for the first time to share knowledge, projects and expertise on urban biodiversity in a new initiative launched in Montreal today by Concertation Montréal and WWF-Canada. Biopolis.ca, the new digital platform at the heart of the initiative, will be unveiled today, showcasing the people and projects driving urban biodiversity in Montreal, with efforts slated to expand to other cities across Canada.

Launch event

  • What: Explore the digital platform and meet the people and ideas behind it. Plus cocktails and local hors d'oeuvres.
  • Who: David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada, as well as a number of "Bioneers," the researchers, citizens and project leaders whose profiles and initiatives are highlighted.
  • When: Monday Dec. 5, 4-6 p.m. (presentation begins at 4:30 p.m.)
  • Where: Phi Centre, 407 Saint-Pierre St., Montreal

About Biopolis

Biopolis.ca, a window into academic, scientific, professional, political and community urban biodiversity efforts in Montreal, focuses on issues of ecosystem services; education and awareness; green infrastructure, habitats and connectivity; invasive species; soil; diversity and conservation; urban agriculture; and water.

It will be continuously updated, and at launch includes:

  • 50 diverse and innovation projects.
  • 60 scientific theses, reports, guides and other documents promoting the best practices and latest developments.
  • The digital home of 70 bioneers, the people who drive urban biodiversity in Montreal through research, community mobilization and thought leadership.

Who's involved

  • Concertation Montréal, the region's civic co-operation facilitator, brings together the academic, scientific, professional, political and community urban biodiversity allies in Montreal, which is home to several academic and research centres among the seven universities of international renown in the city.
  • WWF-Canada, the national branch of one of the world's leading conservation organizations, identifies current and emerging threats to nature and drives the relevant forces to implement science-based solutions.

Why it's important

  • Cities depend on a healthy natural environment that continuously provides a range of benefits, known as ecosystem services. These ecosystem services include drinking water, clean air, healthy food, and protection against floods.
  • Healthy ecosystems are the foundation for sustainable cities, influencing and affecting human well-being and economic activity.
  • Animals and insects that were once plentiful are becoming rarer, or have disappeared altogether, as the makeup of the wider ecosystem changes.
    • The planet is on track to lose 67 per cent of wildlife populations by 2020, according to WWF's Living Planet Report 2016, released in October.
    • Pollinators such as bees and butterflies that are vital to food production are among the species in decline.
    • There are an estimated one billion fewer birds in North America now than there were 40 years ago, driven out by urbanization, growth in agriculture and climate change, according to a recent study by Partners in Flight.
    • The St. Lawrence Watershed faces a high level of threats, according to WWF-Canada's Watershed reports, with the main factors being pollution, habitat loss and habitat fragmentation.

David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada, says:
"As the former mayor of Toronto, I've seen how climate change and the conservation of nature are critical issues for the sustainable development of cities. Restoring our natural heritage and enhancing biodiversity are essential to help cities adapt to climate change. Biopolis can play a significant role in greening cities across Canada as it spreads from Montreal to the country's other major urban centres."

Richard Deschamps, vice-president of Concertation Montréal, says:
"The diverse range of expertise in Montreal, including knowledge-based institutions, international organizations, researchers and project leaders, speak to the importance of the biodiversity sector for the metropolis. Biopolis is intended to be a vector of development that connects participants, facilitates the transfer of knowledge and allows the spread of Montreal's urban biodiversity expertise. Biopolis helps consolidate Montreal's reputation as a city of knowledge."

Sophie Paradis, WWF-Canada Quebec director says:
"Biopolis offers a new way to advance biodiversity through inspiring, dynamic and evolving reference tools that stimulate innovative ideas and initiatives. Biopolis will accelerate the growth of the biodiversity projects in Montreal and spread them to other cities as it expands."

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca.

About Concertation Montréal
Concertation Montréal is a non-profit organization started in January, 2015, borne from the will of elected officials and socio-economic partners of the island of Montreal to create a unique entity building on 20 years of regional consultations. Concertation Montréal is recognized by the Agglomeration of Montreal as its privileged partner for inter-sector cooperation and regional development. Concertation Montréal has already engaged over 100 and 10 regional bodies and elected members, and more than 100 and 25 partners. It offers a central hub where emerging guidelines and courses of action to better develop the metropolis can be designed. concertationmtl.ca

SOURCE WWF-Canada

Image with caption: "Biopolis' logo (CNW Group/WWF-Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20161205_C1704_PHOTO_EN_831045.jpg

For further information: Laurence Cayer-Desrosiers, Communications and Events Specialist, WWF-Canada, 514.394.1106, lcdesrosiers@wwfcanada.org

RELATED LINKS
www.wwf.ca
http://concertationmtl.ca

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