Keeping Woodland Caribou
A new report has just been released by the International Boreal Conservation Science Panel called “Keeping woodland caribou in the boreal forest: Big challenge, immense opportunity”.
The report emphasizes that recovery is achievable but the challenges are substantial. The decline of woodland caribou stems primarily from loss of their boreal forest habitat. The caribou need old forests, typically more than 50 years old, and they range over large areas, often thousands of square kilometres. Because they need large tracts of undisturbed forest, measures to protect them are certain to enhance the conservation of many other species.
Meanwhile, the caribou presents conservation challenges. They reproduce slowly, are very sensitive to disturbances, move readily across extensive areas, have low-density populations and make their home in intact, old forests
In short, to conserve woodland caribou means dispensing with business as usual, which has demonstrably and repeatedly failed to meet caribou conservation needs, the report states.
More than anything, woodland caribou present an invitation to realize a new path to resource development and a long-term vision for sustaining multiple values of the boreal forest, the report suggests.