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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Canadian Petroleum Heritage
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Wildlife and Biodiversity

Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is a term that is frequently used but seldom understood. The Canadian Biodiversity Strategy defines it as "…the variety of species and ecosystems on Earth and the ecological processes of which they are a part." When one part of the ecosystem is affected, the whole system can be stressed. Many species of fish, insects, aquatic plants, and bacteria develop reproduction difficulties. Some even die. The decline in the population of any of these aquatic organisms affects the food chain. Dwindling populations of insects and small aquatic plants and animals are especially serious because the entire food chain is affected.

The environmental sustainability of the oil and gas industry involves many complex issues. Each aspect of the petroleum industry from exploration through to the final uses of its products, affects people, animals, plants, soil, air, and water. Some impacts are confined to small areas, while others have global implications. Impacts that can arise from industry activities include disturbances to land and ecosystems associated with oil extraction, and by construction and operation of associated facilities.

Canada as a whole is trying to build their biodiversification program. In 1992, Canada ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity as the first industrialized country to sign the charter that seeks to protect all species. The Feature Article by the World Wildlife Fund Canada, "Seabirds and Atlantic Canada Ship-Source Oil Pollution" addresses the petroleum industry and Canada's part in saving and maintaining the world’s ecosystem.


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