Biodiversity

“The City of Surrey’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy, endorsed by Council at last night’s meeting, recognizes the City’s biodiversity as a key foundation of a healthy, livable and sustainable community. Natural green spaces provide many benefits, such as clean air and water, to a rapidly growing city like Surrey.”

During urbanization, my rough estimates gathered through counting pixels (in Photoshop) say that Surrey as a whole will lose at least 28.13 square kilometers of habitat to development.

A quarter of that loss (7.6 km2) is in Grandview Heights of South Surrey, where I live.

My estimates include the agricultural lands, which I still need to separate out.

Here are the important pages you’ll want to see if you’re interested in what forests Surrey is going to try to save during urbanization.

Here’s a picture of where the forests are now (look at all that green — it’s why a lot of us move here in the first place). Note that in the south, that’s where the most green is, and that’s where the growing pains are being felt the most. Urbanization here, in rainforest land, means tree-cutting.

habitat suitability map

And since so many of us move here, and more and more and more of us want to live here too,  we have to cut down what we like in order to make room for all of us. Here’s the city’s strategy to maintain some semblance of green in the over 300sqkm that makes up Surrey, BC.

biodiversity strategy
Light green is agricultural land

I’ll zoom in to South Surrey (great resolution, Surrey Biodiversity people, beautiful!)….Here’s what we drive around in nowadays.

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 10.43.47 PM

But it can’t last: land is too expensive and people are selling to developers who are changing single family large lots into townhouses. In an effort to save some green while allowing people to do what they want with their land, the city has come up with this plan (all of “H” is currently unprotected):

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 10.42.40 PM
The light green on the right and upper right are agricultural lands

You’re curious, aren’t you, about how much green and yellow did we actually lose from one picture to the next! Me too. Hmm. I might be able to do it in my cheapo version of photoshop, or I might not. I’ll let you know, with any luck, in my next post! It should be even more interesting than the over 10,000 mature trees I counted being cut down just in the last two years.

UPDATE: I used photoshop elements to count pixels! Here’s the result:

habitat loss in surrey
My original estimate had too much habitat loss in South Surrey — I didn’t add the agricultural lands.

In short, Surrey as a whole is doing okay — the final plan manages to save over half of the green stuff! Very nice. This makes me happy! My area, though, is doooooomed. From 58% green to under 28%.

Note: I included agricultural lands in both before and after counts. It would be better to look at numbers with and without the agricultural lands, but I didn’t do that this time around.

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People need forests too

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