Canadian Forest Service Publications
Systematics: its role in supporting sustainable forest management. 2004. Huber, J.T.; Langor, D.W. The Forestry Chronicle 80(4): 451-457.
Issued by: National Capital Region
Catalog ID: 24916
CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)
Understanding the natural world around us requires knowledge of its component parts. From an ecological function perspective, these parts are species. Partitioning the world of living things into distinguishable, universally recognized species, each with a unique scientific name, is difficult, especially when one considers the numerous kinds of microscopic organisms that make up most of the planet’s biodiversity. Biosystematics is the study of the origin of biological diversity and the evolutionary relationships among species and higher-level groups (taxa). Toxonomy is the theory and practice of identifying, describing, naming and classifying organisms. Despite the mergence of national and international issues and programs concerning conservation of biodiversity, climate change and invasive alien organisms, all of which demand significant taxonomic input and require an increased investment in systematics, Canada’s investment in this discipline has not risen to meet the challenge. Since the mid-1970s the number of taxonomists employed by the federal government has been reduced by about one half. Canada must do more than maintain the inadequate status quo by increasing its investment in systematics in order to meet our nation’s obligations, both domestically and internationally.