Building Resilience in a Changing World

Written by: Summer Graham


The world around us is changing, we can see it every day. With forest fires in the west, tropical storm aftermath in the east, and record-breaking heat waves scattered across the country, resiliency in our environment is needed now more than ever. 


What is ecosystem resilience? 

Resiliency is the ability of a system to maintain its function, regardless of external stressors or events that might disrupt it. Resilience also refers to the ability to recover after a disturbance. In a climate that tends to be shifting to extremes, ecosystem resiliency is essential for any chance of stability in the years ahead. 


Regarding our ecosystems, resilient communities are those that are better suited to withstand the negative impacts caused by a variety of events, such as:

  • fires, 
  • flooding, 
  • windstorms,
  • disease outbreaks,
  • insect population increases and,
  • human activities such as deforestation, fracking, pesticide use, and introduction of non-native, invasive species. 


Native Plants and The Biodiversity Crisis

Native plants play a critical role in the health of Canadian ecosystems. Climate change and settler colonial encroachment have eliminated enormous tracts of native plants in Canada, and around the world.  When native plants are lost, replaced with non-native species or urban areas and concrete, wildlife is also lost, leading to collapse of ecosystem function. 


Environments that have been weakened by the introduction of invasive species into a natural area, or those that have little or no native species remaining (such as in an urban environment) will be less resilient in a changing climate. 


How do we build resilient ecosystems? 

By adding more trees, native plants, and restoration efforts like mini forests to our communities, we can create more resilient ecosystems across Canada. Native species planted in urban areas do not replace the natural forests around us, but rather are a method of reforesting areas that currently serve little or no ecological function. Benefits of planting trees and other native species include: 

  • improved air quality 
  • better storm water retention (reduced flooding and runoff) 
  • wildlife habitat 
  • cooling effect to counter the warming impact of paved urban areas
  • reduction in noise pollution 
  • soil stabilization
  • improved mental, social, and physical health in the community 


To better help Canadians across the country build resilient ecosystems by planting native species in their own communities and backyards, CanPlant is excited to announce the next chapter in our story.


Details coming soon! Stay tuned for more… 


Additional reading: 

Government of Canada - Planting 2 Billion trees 

Nature Canada - Trees Help Fight Climate Change 

Government of Canada - The power of trees 

Canadian Geographic - What if we could plant trees as quickly as we cut them down? 


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