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A plan for the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat)

Author(s): Loeb, S.C., T.J. Rodhouse, L.E. Ellison, C.L. Lausen, J.D. Reichard, K.M. Irvine, T.E. Ingersoll, J.T.H. Coleman, W.E. Thogmartin, J.R. Sauer, C.M. Francis, M.L. Bayless, T.R. Stanley, and D.H. Johnson
Year: 2015

A Fork in the Road, Future Development in Ontario's Far North

Author(s): Cheryl Chetkiewicz and Matt Carlson
Journal: Wildlife Conservation Society Canada Collaborative Report
Year: 2013

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Latest Feature

Habitat Restoration and Protecting Caribou Populations


Habitat loss is – by far – the most common reason species become at risk of extinction. There are many ways to combat this threat, including protecting key areas from human activities, and restoring habitat that has been removed or otherwise damaged.

Habitat restoration must play a large role in recovery efforts for boreal caribou. Many populations are declining where human activities like forest harvesting, agriculture, settlement, oil sands and roads have damaged or destroyed their habitat. Boreal caribou are currently listed as Threatened under the federal Species At Risk Act and under most provincial and territorial species at risk legislation where this animal resides.

A discussion paper on this topic by WCS Canada’s President, Justina Ray, was commissioned by Environment Canada as federal recovery efforts grapple with the challenge of habitat restoration. The paper was posted earlier this month on Environment Canada’s website: http://registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca/document/default_e.cfm?documentID=2854

Dr. Ray's paper discuses and defines boreal caribou habitat restoration in the context of both national recovery efforts and insights from the rapidly advancing field of ecological restoration, and proposes criteria for what constitutes restored habitat. Currently, there is no consensus on the definition of “restored” habitat, despite a commitment by countries at the 2010 meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity to restore 15% of degraded ecosystems by 2020.

Boreal caribou are a prime example of the difficulty of bringing back habitat that has been lost; decades are needed to restore mature forest habitats, and the extent of habitat loss that has already occurred adds a daunting dimension to the task. On top of these issues, conservation efforts are struggling against a legacy of inadequate attention to reclamation thus far.

A key conclusion of the paper is that effective restoration for boreal caribou will require site-based restoration activities to be linked with range-scale land use planning and monitoring. It will be exceedingly difficult to recover boreal caribou populations once they are in decline and disturbance levels are high. Restoring ecosystems is typically a highly expensive process that requires substantially more effort than prevention of ecological damage in the first place.

To read the paper in its entirety: click here.

To support WCS Canada’s work on boreal caribou and habitat restoration: click here.

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Latest News

Citizen Science for Bats
Although we currently know surprisingly little about bats in winter in western Canada, WCS Canada is making giant leaps filling critical knowledge gaps through our on the ground research and citizen science programs. 

Through these collaborations, we now have more than 50 bat detectors deployed in hard-to-reach underground locations across western Canada. As we learn where our bats hibernate, and what species use what types of caves or mines, we will be better poised to help fight the deadly White Nose Syndrome that is expected to spread into the west within the next decade or so.

Boreal Forest Conservation and the Paris Climate Agreement
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change, signed by Canada and 195 other countries, has been greeted with much fanfare and enormous relief. After decades of mounting scientific evidence for the negative impacts of a changing climate – on people, wildlife and all ecosystems from forests to oceans – the highest levels of government are finally recognizing climate change as an immediate threat.
New Report: Fish and Hydroelectricity in Yukon

A new Report warns of  the potential for major negative impacts on fish and fish habitat caused by large hydroelectric dams, like that currently under evaluation through the Next Generation Hydro initiative. The Report, which focuses on north-western Canada, notes that substantial destruction of fish habitats caused by such a dam, along with additional threats and effects will be either very expensive or impossible to mitigate.