Lake near Robert Campbell at Tuchitua, southeast Yukon., Hilary Cooke
Lake near Robert Campbell at Tuchitua, southeast Yukon. © Hilary Cooke

Northern Boreal Mountains

Running from northern British Columbia into southern Yukon, the Northern Boreal Mountains area is a magnificent rugged and remote region with remarkably diverse ecosystems.

The interconnected nature of this region and its diversity of habitats and geography – from mountain slopes to valley forests – means that it may offer wildlife valuable pathways for adaptation to climate change. But we are already seeing evidence of the growing impacts of a changing climate, including increasingly intense wild fires, so it is vital that we factor climate resilience into land-use plans.

Because the forests, lakes, rivers, and wetlands of this region are generally healthy, intact and connected, we see the potential to develop modern conservation-first land-use plans that can ensure the survival of species and community prosperity. But we must act before development carves the region into much less ecologically valuable fragments.

How we work

  • In southern Yukon, we have tracked otters over ice and land to map critical pathways for protection across the landscape.
  • In the Tintina Trench migratory flyway, we are tracking birds to identify critical sites and habitats in need of protection.
  • Across the Boreal Mountains of the Yukon, we used novel computer modelling tools developed by the BEACONs project to identify large, intact areas that can accommodate natural disturbance regimes, key wildlife habitats, ecosystem representation, and watershed connectivity, providing the “ecological benchmarks” to frame land protection.
  • In the mountainous Muskwa-Kechika area of northern BC, we are doing field research to help identify key habitats and wildlife populations to enhance previous conservation-based land-use planning in order to better protect the region’s wild character in the face of increased oil-and-gas development.
  • We're engagine governments and First Nations in proactive planning to protect key areas and critical habitats to ensure wildlife populations remain healthy, particularly in the face of a changing climate.

Conservation challenges

  • Development of the mineral riches of the Yukon and gas reserves in northern BC, and pipelines and transport corridors across the region
  • Development of local sources of energy through wood biomass
  • Expanding opportunities for agriculture

Where we work

, WCS Canada
© WCS Canada

Projects

Yukon Climate Change

Yukon Climate Change

Why we need to plan for a changing climate and landscape

Resources


Stories and op-eds

After burn: The new face of fire puts wildlife on the hot seat
2023-11-01

After burn: The new face of fire puts wildlife on the hot seat

How Canada’s wildlife is struggling to cope with the human-induced forcings of climate change
Justina Ray, Hilary Cooke
Burning trees: not a good way to solve the climate crisis
2023-08-01

Burning trees: not a good way to solve the climate crisis

Letter to Yukon News: re Biomass for Institutional Heating
Donald Reid, Hilary Cooke
Social for science: Using smartphone photos for research
2020-11-06

Social for science: Using smartphone photos for research

With millions of photos taken globally each day on smartphones, researchers have found they may also contain important ecological clues about our rapidly changing planet
Donald Reid

Media coverage

Monitoring birds in reclaimed placer mine sites in the Yukon

A research project in the Yukon is using birds to signal health returning to reclaimed mine sites. Morgan Brown with Wildlife Conservation Society Canada and the University of Alberta explains.
2024-04-03 | CBC

Study shows impacts on Yukon chinook salmon due to weather, streamflow and more

Late 2023 study suggests positive and negative environmental impacts on the chinooks’ productivity
2024-01-29 | Yukon News

Our team

Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle

Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle

Co-Director, Northern Boreal Mountains Program

Hilary Cooke

Hilary Cooke

Co-Director, Northern Boreal Mountains Program

Christopher Addison

Christopher Addison

Indigenous-led Conservation Specialist

Michael Quinn

Michael Quinn

Lead Avian Field Technician

Jared Gonet

Jared Gonet

MITACS PhD Student

Asia Procee

Asia Procee

Research Intern

Clara Reid

Clara Reid

Avian Research Intern

Kim Melton

Kim Melton

Field Technician

Austin Zeller

Austin Zeller

Research Assistant

Richard Gravel

Richard Gravel

Field Technician