Reports

A National Standard for the Identification of Key Biodiversity Areas in Canada

This document is the National KBA Standard for Canada – an adaptation of the Global KBA Standard that is relevant to the Canadian context and expands the scope of KBA identification in this country. The Canadian National KBA Standard is formally considered to include definitions, the criteria, and associated thresholds. It also contains sections on KBA-related procedures applied in a Canadian context, such as delineation and the Canadian KBA review process. The National KBA Standard should be used hand in hand with the Global KBA Standard and Guidelines.

North American Boreal Terrestrial Ecosystem Biomass: A Spatial Data Review

Boreal forests, wetlands, and soils hold substantial amounts of carbon in the form of plant material, alive and in various stages of decay (herein “biomass carbon”). Governments, scientists, industry, and civil society organizations are increasingly interested in identifying where and how much biomass carbon is held in North American boreal ecosystems to help prioritize stewardship actions, inform adaptive planning, proactively mitigate climate change, and harness new investments in ecosystem services. This report surveys publicly available spatial data quantifying biomass carbon in various subsets or pools (aboveground, below-ground, within soil, wetland, and permafrost) across the North American boreal. This report provides recommendations on the most useful data sources and data sets for each of the pools of biomass carbon.

The Greater Muskwa-Kechika - Building a better network for protecting wildlife and wildlands

Wildlife Conservation Society Canada conservation scientist John Weaver has developed a bold plan to build on the existing array of protected areas scattered across the Greater Muskwa-Kechica. The network of new areas recommended for protection is based on Dr. Weaver’s analysis of the results from detailed studies by provincial and university biologists. The plan has been carefully shaped to minimize conflict with resource industries while maximizing protection for the core habitats of keystone species, such as caribou, stone sheep, bull trout and moose. This expansion would ensure the Greater Muskwa-Kechika remain a stronghold for wildlife in a world being swept by an extinction crisis.

Fire and Insects - Managing Naturally Disturbed Forests to Conserve Ecological Values

WCS Canada has developed a detailed scientific report on the values of burned and beetle killed forests in Yukon and how we can shape timber harvest (including biomass harvesting) in these areas to protect these values.

Watching, Listening, and Learning to Understand Change - Developing a Community-Based Monitoring (CBM) Initiative in Ontario's Far North

Ontario’s Far North is one of the world’s largest most intact expanses of boreal forest and wetlands. The region has almost no industrial development today. Far from being a frontier for new mines, all-weather roads, and transmission, the region is the homeland of Cree and Ojibway Indigenous peoples. They rely on the land, freshwater, air, fish and wildlife for traditional economies and cultural and spiritual values. They are also engaged in environmental planning for new industrial development and climate change. As such, impacts of climate change and development decisions on communities and their traditional territories, must be monitored. Our report develops the rationale for the design and implementation of a community-based monitoring approach in Ontario’s Far North and looks at examples from across Canada and around the world in order to support First Nations in their roles and responsibilities in taking care of the land, water, fish, and wildlife.

Assessing the Potential Cumulative Impacts of Land Use and Climate Change on Freshwater Fish in Northern Ontario

The subarctic boreal landscape of northern Ontario is of global importance thanks to the ecological intactness of terrestrial and freshwater systems spanning an area larger than California. This region also contains some of the largest undammed rivers remaining in the world, thousands of lakes and the largest wetland complex in North America. The region’s diverse freshwater ecosystems support at least 50 species of freshwater fish, making this home to the largest area of high fish biodiversity with low human impacts within Canada. Healthy aquatic systems in Northern Ontario are important to First Nations and these systems also offer important ecological and social services to other Ontarians including climate regulation and recreational fishing. This region is also rich in natural resource potential including minerals and extensive hydroelectric potential. This study addresses a gap in current piecemeal planning efforts and considers the cumulative impacts of new land use and climate change on four freshwater fish species: walleye, lake sturgeon, lake whitefish, and brook trout across an area of 440,000 square kilometres. We apply land use and climate change scenarios within the ALCES Online toolkit to examine the impacts of these scenarios on expert-derived models for fish sustainability.

Securing a Wild Future - Planning for Landscape-Scale Conservation of Yukon's Boreal Mountains

The cumulative effects of unplanned development can result in the piecemeal erosion of ecological values, with significant impacts on wildlife populations. The capacity of Yukon's Boreal Mountains to accommodate additional growth of the development footprint before ecological values and traditional economies are significantly compromised is unknown. Just a single road through a large, continuous block of intact habitat opens an area up to further resource use, wildlife exploitation, land conversion, motorised and non-motorized recreation, and continued expansion of the road network. This study examines the gaps in existing protection and opportunities and priorities for proactive landscape-scale conservation across approximately 290,000 square kilometres of the southern Yukon using the BEACON’s benchmarking modelling approach.

Bighorn backcountry of Alberta, Protecting vulnerable wildlife and precious waters

A scientific analysis that identified a conservation gem nestled beside the two crown jewels of the Rocky Mountain national park system. The area, known as the Bighorn Backcountry, lies just east of Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta and represents one of the most ecologically important areas in the province’s Eastern Slopes region. Based on findings about the importance of this region to wildlife, clean water and recreation, WCS Canada is calling on the Alberta Government to designate the area as a Provincial Wildland Park in keeping with its recent commitment to conserve at least 17 percent of the province’s land base.

Conservation of Lakeshore Zones in the Northern Boreal Mountains: State of Knowledge, and Principles and Guidelines for Planning and Management

Surveying and Monitoring Wolverines in Ontario and Other Lowland, Boreal Forest Habitats - Recommendations and Protocols

This Northwest Science and Information (NWSI) Field Guide describes the plight of the threatened wolverine and recommendations for monitoring wolverine populations to inform an effective recovery strategy. This document describes techniques for monitoring wolverine populations including aerial track surveys, interviews with local trappers, hair snares, remote cameras, live-trapping, and radio telemetry. Recommendations are made on appropriate techniques based on scale and objectives and survey methods are described for use by conservation managers.
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