5 Ways Biodiversity Supports Us (and 1 Way You Can Help It Thrive)

Three polar bears walk in a grassy field in northern Manitoba
May 22, 2022

Flourishing biodiversity is the solution to many sustainable development challenges.

Biodiversity is a catchall phrase that describes how all living things — from microganisms to plants, bugs and animals — work together to balance and suppot life in an ecosystems large and small.

Biodiversity provides our communities with fresh air to breathe and clean water to drink, livelihoods and food to support our families, contributes to the economy, and is a key element in the fight against the climate crisis.

To celebrate Biodiversity Day and its theme “Building a shared future for all life,” we’re spotlighting five ways biodiversity helps Manitoba’s communities and wild spaces.

Sheltering polar bears

Female polar bears spend up to eight months a year on land in Manitoba’s Hudson Bay Lowlands region. They’re the only polar bears to dig earthen dens because winter often comes too late for snow dens.

Thriving biodiversity helps mother polar bears find the right spot to dig the dens they depend on to give birth to and raise their cubs to become healthy adults. Tree roots provide stability to the dens dug in peat banks.

Mitigating climate change

Biodiversity found in the Hudson Bay Lowlands sustains both the people and wildlife that prosper there. This landscape is carbon-rich, meaning it keeps carbon in the ground and away from the atmosphere. 

Protecting the biodiversity found in this vast landscape would represent a significant piece of Manitoba’s contribution to addressing the effects of climate change, both locally and globally. 

Supporting Indigenous communities

Millions of migratory geese and shorebirds visit the Hudson Bay Lowlands every year. Because the biodiversity is so abundant in this region, the nutrient-rich coastal salt marshes provide ideal conditions for these birds to feed and breed. 

Geese and ducks also play an important part in subsistence harvesting for Indigenous peoples, helping to fulfill the food, livelihood, and household needs of these communities.

Providing safe migration routes 

Migratory barren-ground caribou pass through the Hudson Bay Lowlands, traveling in herds of several thousand on the mainland of Canada. 

Healthy biodiversity provides them with safe migration routes, ensuring they continue to survive for generations to come.

Boosting the economy

The remarkable sight of polar bear cubs playing on the tundra and splashing in the sea brings thousands of tourists to the Hudson Bay Lowlands each year.

Tourism contributes to Manitoba’s economy by boosting revenue and creating jobs to respond to nature, park, and related infrastructure needs. But nature-based tourist attractions and their economic benefits can only continue as long as our biodiversity thrives.

How you can help build a shared future for all:

This Biodiversity Day, safeguard the Hudson Bay Lowlands’ iconic landscapes and wildlife by supporting the Indigenous nations working to establish protected areas. Use our simple letter-writing tool to add your voice to the movement.

Help Keep Manitoba Wild


CPAWS Manitoba has helped establish 23 parks and protected areas thanks to people like you.

With your help, we can protect half our lands and waters for future generations of people and wildlife.