Quebec researchers are launching a biodiversity research center, hoping to emulate the success of the Ouranos consortium, specializing in climate change. Led by Professor Jérôme Dupras, the center will aim to “build a bridge between science and the field”.

The Center for Applied Research on Biodiversity and Ecosystems, CRABE, will be attached to the Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO) and will benefit from initial funding of $2.3 million from the Quebec Research Fund. Its objective will be to support subnational governments, mainly municipalities, in achieving their conservation targets.

“We have 20 years of catching up to do [in biodiversity] compared to Ouranos,” says Jérôme Dupras, professor at UQO and holder of the Canada Research Chair in ecological economics. Our mission is to increase societal literacy about biodiversity,” he adds.

The Ouranos consortium, remember, was established in 2001 with the mission of making the link between climate science and adaptation needs to face climate change. Over the years, Ouranos has become a real reference in Canada in terms of climate change.

According to the professor, there is no shortage of research on biodiversity in Quebec, “what is missing is making sense of it. We need to build a bridge between science and the field.”

According to the researcher, there is a difficulty in understanding the impacts of the decline in biodiversity. Impacts which can also accumulate for several years before the public realizes them. “This delay is global, not just in Quebec,” underlines Jérôme Dupras.

“With COP15 on biodiversity, which was held in Montreal, the idea was to maintain a certain momentum,” explains Mr. Dupras. Contacts have been established with several organizations, including Ouranos and Quebec’s chief scientist, Rémi Quirion. “I welcome the creation of this new structure that will develop in-depth knowledge on biodiversity and connect scientists and decision-makers to support evidence-based public policies,” said Mr. Quirion.

With an initial team of around ten people, CRABE will mainly provide synthesis, training and support for municipalities and private companies. The new organization counts on several partners to launch its activities: Finance Montréal, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, the Fédération québécoise des municipalities, Ouranos and the Union des consommateurs agricole.