OTTAWA, Oct. 31, 2017 /CNW/ - In the boreal forest, the environment and the economy are linked: all stakeholders have a part in protecting it. Our government is committed to conserving wildlife habitat and protecting species at risk in this vast swath of Canadian forest.
Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, released the Report on the Progress of the Recovery-Strategy Implementation for the Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), Boreal Population in Canada, for the Period 2012 to 2017.
The report highlights federal, provincial, and territorial progress in implementing the 2012 recovery strategy. It includes assessments of population and habitat conditions and identifies where further protection and recovery efforts are required.
Overall, the report shows that some progress was made by governments and industry, in the past five years. However, caribou populations continue to decline and habitat disturbance continues to increase. The report emphasizes the need for us all to do more.
The federal government is doing its part. This July, we published our proposed federal action plan, an important step forward in our efforts to protect boreal caribou and enhance biodiversity in Canada.
Over 95 percent of boreal caribou habitat is under provincial and territorial jurisdiction. Provinces and territories have the primary responsibility for management of lands, natural resources, and habitat where boreal caribou live. While no province or territory has submitted a completed range plan, all are presently working to address the issue of caribou protection and recovery. The federal government wishes to support them in accelerating these efforts. Going forward, the Government of Canada is also committed to fulfilling its obligations under the Species at Risk Act.
There is a role for everyone: from citizens, governments, Indigenous Peoples, local communities to resource industries. Indigenous communities in many areas are taking measures to protect and monitor caribou and involve traditional knowledge in this process. Many in industry and in the environmental community are also working to protect habitat while maintaining and creating jobs.
Moving forward, our government will work with relevant stakeholders to codify and accelerate efforts to protect boreal caribou through the development of robust, science-based conservation agreements. We know we need innovative solutions that will enable us to protect the environment and strengthen the economy.
Next spring, the Government of Canada will assess current and future plans to protect critical habitat in caribou ranges. We are confident that, as it has done in the past, Canada will rise to the challenge of protecting our natural heritage.
"Boreal caribou is an iconic species and a key indicator of a healthy boreal forest. It holds special significance to all Canadians, especially Indigenous Peoples. Its continuing decline is concerning, and it impacts us all. I am committed to protecting species under the Species at Risk Act, and I recognize that the recovery of boreal caribou requires unprecedented commitment, collaboration, and cooperation if we are to achieve success. We must continue to protect our environment and strengthen our economy as well as maintain our collective work to ensure the conservation of wildlife."
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
- The best available data submitted by provinces and territories suggests that some populations continue to decline across Canada. Despite the overall decline of boreal caribou since 2012, provincial, territorial, and federal governments have done considerable work since the recovery strategy was released, and they continue to take action and develop plans to achieve positive conservation outcomes for boreal caribou.
- At the federal level, the recently released action plan illustrates how the Government of Canada is working to protect boreal caribou and its critical habitat on federal lands and how it is strengthening its science to support decision making through a new knowledge consortium. The report also shows the Government of Canada's intent to collaborate with jurisdictions to improve recovery and protection actions on the ground, through conservation agreements under the Species at Risk Act.
- Habitat disturbance has increased since 2012. Based on an analysis of disturbance between 2010 and 2015, habitat disturbance (human activity and fire) increased in approximately 67 percent of caribou ranges, decreased in 17 percent of ranges, and saw no change in 16 percent of ranges. When looking only at anthropogenic disturbance (caused by human activity) for the same time period, it increased in 57 percent of ranges, decreased in 18 percent of ranges, and remained stable in 25 percent of ranges.
SOURCE Environment and Climate Change Canada
For further information: Marie-Pascale Des Rosiers, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, 613-462-5473, [email protected]; Media Relations, Environment and Climate Change Canada, 819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll free), [email protected]