Caribou Recovery Strategy - A Major Step Forward

OTTAWA, Oct. 5, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) believes Environment Canada's Boreal Caribou Recovery Strategy is a strong first step towards the conservation of boreal caribou and will benefit Canada's boreal forest and the wildlife that depends on it.

"It is clear that many of the comments provided by CWF on the draft released last year were acted upon," says Dr. David Browne, CWF Director of Conservation. "The final recovery strategy strengthens the requirements for habitat restoration in highly disturbed areas, provides strong guidance for how development should take place in areas with healthy populations, and sets timelines for preparing individual range plans and at least one Action Plan. The requirement to maintain a minimum of 65 per cent of critical habitat undisturbed is lower than CWF would like but it sets an important benchmark."

Achieving the recovery strategy's habitat restoration targets will require novel approaches to land use, both in terms of minimizing disturbance and more importantly deciding where development should and should not occur. To be successful in securing a future for Canada's boreal caribou will require a strong commitment by the federal, provincial, territorial and First Nation governments, but also from industry and non-government organizations to protect critical habitat, develop action plans and put incentives in place for habitat restoration.

"The designation of 2.4 million square kilometers of Canada, nearly one quarter of our country, as critical habitat means large scale landscape management for conservation and meaningful consideration of cumulative effects will be required before development can take place," says Browne. "This is the most complex recovery strategy ever undertaken by Environment Canada and highlights the importance of investing in government led research."

For its part, CWF has invested $250,000 in the development of a landscape planning model to identify opportunities for conservation in the highly disturbed western boreal forest region of Canada. CWF has had a three year partnership with University of Alberta to support the use of satellite collars in a research project aimed at determining industry best practices that will benefit boreal caribou.

CWF is the largest conservation organization in Canada with a supporter base of over 300 000 Canadians and operates the leading non-government species-at-risk program in Canada, providing $500,000 per year to enable key research on at-risk species.

CWF has been a balanced voice on conservation issues for more than 50 years.

About the Canadian Wildlife Federation: The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a national non-profit charitable organization dedicated to ensuring an appreciation of our natural world and a lasting legacy of healthy wildlife and habitat. By spreading knowledge of human impacts on the environment, developing and delivering educational programs, sponsoring research, promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, recommending policy changes and co-operating with like-minded partners, CWF encourages a future in which Canadians can live in harmony with nature. For more information, visit CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca.

SOURCE CANADIAN WILDLIFE FEDERATION




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