About Us

Photo by Richard Amies

Professor Claire Kremen

IBioS Faculty Director

Director’s Message

Biodiversity is life on Earth – from the tiniest microbes to the largest mammals, unicellular algae to giant redwoods, and solitary individuals to social organisms like bumblebees, elephants, and humans. This immense diversity is threatened, however. Now, extinctions occur at rates thousands of times higher than throughout the evolutionary history of life on Earth. About a quarter of the species on Earth are facing extreme threats to their survival, largely due to human alteration of land, water, atmosphere, and climate.  

The loss of a species is forever, and ultimately, the loss of species puts our lives at risk too.  Biodiversity supports human well-being, whether it’s the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the nature we enjoy, or our endless fascination with and imitation of wild creatures and their ways of life.

Although it’s time-critical to protect biodiversity, this issue too-often plays backseat to other critical global challenges with which it is inter-linked, such as climate change and pandemics. The IBioS Collaboratory at the University of British Columbia was established in 2020 to research and contribute to ongoing global actions and measures to help protect and restore Earth’s biodiversity. It’s time to mainstream biodiversity protection and restoration as a major goal for policies, businesses, communities, and civil societies. When done well, protecting, and restoring biodiversity can help us to mitigate several other global challenges, such as the climate crisis, and to rebuild respectful and reciprocal relationships with nature akin to those that characterized nature-people interactions prior to colonial expansion and industrialization.

Throughout history, Indigenous communities and other local peoples cared for and co-produced the nature that supports their cultures and well-being. And yet, a brief looks across history shows that Western conservation actions often displaced or excluded Indigenous communities and local peoples from lands and waters that they depended on and cared for over millennia. The relentless expansion of unsustainable resource extraction further upended natural ecosystems and Indigenous ways of life. Recognizing these injustices and respecting the immense biocultural knowledge and stewardship principles and practices of many Indigenous and other local peoples, the IBioS Collaboratory commits to finding new mechanisms for restoring and protecting biodiversity that explicitly support justice, equity, and inclusivity for diverse human societies.

With an interdisciplinary team of world-class researchers and scholars, and fostered by the collaborative environment of UBC, our program takes a science-to-solutions approach to mainstream a just approach to biodiversity conservation. I warmly invite you to learn more about our collaborative interdisciplinary research, conservation science training, engagement, policy, and outreach, and explore opportunities to be involved in our efforts to achieve these impactful outcomes together.