FORREX Conservation Biology List Announcement – May 2009

This list posting, published by FORREX Forum for Research and Extension in Natural Resources, is supported in part by BC Ministry of Forests and Range through the Forest Investment Account, Forest Science Program. For details or to contact FORREX, visit

Atlas tracks B.C.’s biodiversity
“B.C.’s human population is expected to climb from four million to nearly six million over the next 20 years, accelerating pressure on the other species that often compete for the same prime habitats. That’s the conclusion of researchers who have completed the Biodiversity Atlas of British Columbia, which finds that B.C.’s natural environment remains in relatively good condition compared to other places in the world. Population and infrastructure growth tends to cluster in the same southern and coastal regions that support the highest diversity of species, and climate change is already increasing the pressure via the mountain pine beetle outbreak and other changes.” Read more about this new release and click here to download the full document.

Landscape-Level Impacts to Salmon and Steelhead Stream Habitats in British Columbia – New Report
In British Columbia some of the most important salmon and steelhead freshwater environments are physically, chemically and biologically diverse as a result of water flowing through a wide variety of landscapes. The geologies, hydrological regimes and ecological conditions vary significantly across the watersheds, creating a diversity of ecosystems and habitats. However, human activities, at the landscape scale have profoundly changed many of these features along many waterways, often to the detriment of the fish populations that exist within these broad geographic areas. This new report, prepared for the Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council, examines the influences of landscape-level human activities on fish and fish habitat with a particular focus on activities relating to forestry, agriculture and urbanization.

Alberta releases Plan for Parks
Alberta has just released its “Plan for Parks“. Intended to be a blueprint to guide decisions for managing provincial parks, this long-term plan aims to ensure the sustainability of natural landscapes, enhance recreational opportunities, and help to improve the quality of life for Albertans.

New Report – Silviculture treatments for ecosystem management in the Sayward
Silviculture Treatments for Ecosystem Management in the Sayward (STEMS) is a large-scale, multi-disciplinary experiment that compares forest productivity, economics, and public perception of seven silvicultural regimes replicated at three sites in the Sayward Forest. The STEMS experiment uses silvicultural systems and treatments to create diversity in forest structure that results in a variety of canopy layers (vertical structure) and spatial patchiness (horizontal structure) to enhance biodiversity and wildlife. The STEMS experiment examines seven different treatment regimes that create a range of gap sizes and frequencies that emulate natural variation in forest structure. Access their latest report here.

Potential of Grasslands for Climate Change Mitigation
A new UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) submission to the UNFCCC outlines the potential for grasslands to contribute to greenhouse gas mitigation. The submission, which is based on a workshop of experts that convened from 15-17 April 2009, in Rome, Italy, outlines opportunities and challenges for including grasslands in a post-2012 climate regime.

Recovery strategy for cliff paintbrush in British Columbia
The final recovery strategy for cliff paintbrush in British Columbia has been recently posted on the BC Ministry of Environment recovery planning website.

Resolutions and Recommendations from the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2008 in Barcelona now available
You can find the final version of the Resolutions and Recommendations from this international congress here.

New Report – Climate Change and Alberta’s Forests: An Information and Discussion Paper of Predicted Implications
This new report from Alberta Sustainable Resource Development collates and summarizes information on potential climate change effects on Alberta’s forests to help raise awareness of predicted impacts.

New Environmental Professional Certificate Program at Vancouver Island University
The Environmental Professional Certificate Program (EPCP) is a 6-month professional-level certificate program offered by the Natural Resources Extension Program (NREP), Vancouver Island University. The EPCP will provide environmental practitioners with leading-edge, practical environmental, fisheries, aquatic, safety and communication skills. The EPCP is highly-applied, focusing on field skills training and applications.

New Report – Looking back on looking forward: a review of evaluative scenario literature
Faced with risk and uncertainty, environmental policy-makers are increasingly using scenario planning to guide decision making. The vibrancy of the field is evident in the numerous case studies conducted using diverse methodologies. Yet even well crafted scenarios can fail to have their intended policy impact if they present irrelevant information, lack support from relevant actors, are poorly embedded into relevant organisations or ignore key institutional context conditions. Unfortunately, the shortage of research on scenario planning and its influence means that there is limited guidance on how to optimise scenarios, in terms of both outputs and uptake by policy-makers. This technical report addresses this lack of information, presenting a review of relevant academic and non academic literature on the issue.

Hitting the target and missing the point: target-based conservation planning in context
This mini-review article recently published in Conservation Letters puts target-based conservation planning in context by: (1) summarizing reported limitations of the approach and differentiating between those that are real and those that are misconceived; (2) identifying ways that some of the real limitations have, and can, be overcome, and (3) comparing target-based conservation planning to alternative conservation prioritization approaches.

Y2Y Releases New Technical Report
Y2Y has commissioned a review of the known factors affecting native bull and westslope cutthroat trout in the upper reaches of the Bow River. Learn more about the ecological health of the Upper Bow River watershed and potential restoration initiatives.

More Reflexive Use of Adaptive Management

This article recently published in Society & Natural Resources examines adaptive management as a way to address situations where ecological and social uncertainty exists. The roles of experimental and collaborative adaptive management in contemporary practice are reviewed and a framework of questions that managers can use to reflect on both ecological and social uncertainties as they relate to individual management contexts is proposed.

“From Species to Landscape: New Recovery Approaches for Dry Forest and Grassland Species at Risk” – Workshop notes now available
After a successful series of interactive workshops exploring multi-species, ecosystem-based approaches for conserving grasslands and dry forest species at risk and the habitats on which they depend, summaries of presentations and discussions from the three events held in Penticton, Kamloops and Williams Lake in February and March 2009 are now available online.

Progress towards the European 2010 biodiversity target
As the first indicator-based assessment of progress towards the European target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010, this report recently released by the European Environment Agency serves two purposes. First, it takes stock of the state of biodiversity and its loss in Europe based on the most recent data available. Second, it functions as a bridge to a comprehensive assessment of the 2010 target to be done in 2010. As such, the indicators in this report do not only show what is currently known. They also show where information is missing and what more needs to be measured and examined to enable a comprehensive assessment in 2010.

Delaying conservation actions for improved knowledge: how long should we wait?
Decisions about where conservation actions are implemented are usually based on incomplete knowledge about biodiversity. Using the Protea Atlas database, this article recently published in Ecology Letters compares the outcome from different scenarios of information gain, and habitat protection and loss, over a 20-year period. The results of this study reveal the opportunity costs of delaying conservation action to improve knowledge.


April 23, 2009 – Sustainable forestry practices increase biodiversity
“Most people have heard of the term “biodiversity” but how many people really understand what the term means and how human activity can either help or hinder the level of biodiversity present in a given area?”

Read the full story…

April 27, 2009 – Revelstoke schoolchildren help with release of 4,000 sturgeon
“Local schoolchildren went home with their hands smelling fishy last Thursday, but are able to say they provided a helping hand to an endangered species. As part of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C.’s (FFSBC) ongoing participation in sturgeon recovery programs in British Columbia, staff from the Kootenay Trout Hatchery has joined forces with several local school groups to hold sturgeon release events in Creston, Revelstoke and Castlegar over the week of April 19.”

Read the full story…

April 28, 2009 – Frogs will have their day
“Background noise will be a chorus of red-legged and Pacific tree frogs as the first annual International World Save the Frogs Day is marked in Qualicum Beach today. “Many species of frogs throughout the world are rapidly approaching extinction as their habitat disappears,” said Annette Tanner of Western Canada Wilderness Committee.”

Read the full story…

April 28, 2009 – G8 Environment Ministers: Climate, Biodiversity, Health Essential
“The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, IUCN, supports the environment ministers’ conclusions. We are delighted that the G8 has taken such a strong stance on biodiversity conservation and climate change, despite the current financial crisis, said IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefevre. It remains to be seen how these topics will be included in the G8 Heads of State Summit in July. IUCN will continue to work closely with its members and the Italian G8 Presidency to ensure that this happens.”

Read the full story…

April 28, 2009 – Crew begins restoring natural grasslands to Rockies
“The Rocky Mountain Trench Society (RMTS) made their final selections Monday, employing 12 local Columbia Valley forestry workers and wasted no time starting work Tuesday morning on the Trench ecosystem restoration project.”

Read the full story…

April 29, 2009 – Land stewardship bill in Alberta sets framework to harmonize growth, environment
“The province has introduced legislation aimed at harmonizing economic growth and environmental protection.”

Read the full story…

April 30, 2009 – Big Ecosystem Thinking Required in the Boreal Forest, expert panel says
“Experts from across Canada gathered at the University of Toronto last night to discuss new approaches to protecting ecosystems in Ontario’s Northern Boreal Forest especially in light of dangerous climate change. The panel, moderated by Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller, challenged the audience to think about how Ontario could plan for Boreal ecosystems while at the same time respecting Aboriginal peoples and building new opportunities for economic prosperity.”

Read the full story…

April 30, 2009 – Biodiversity’s Potential for Tackling Global Challenges
“At the UN Department of Public Information briefing for non-governmental organizations on “Biodiversity – The basis for Human Well-Being: Celebrating the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010,” held on 30 April 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) highlighted the International Year of Biodiversity as an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of life on the planet, recognize its importance for our well-being, and take the steps needed to ensure that it is available for future generations.”

Read the statement…

May 2, 2009 – Selkirk caribou herd holding steady
“Despite setbacks caused by vehicle collisions, the endangered Selkirk Mountains caribou herd is at least holding an even population. Aerial surveys completed this month as the animals begin heading north to spring range found 46 mountain caribou mostly in the British Columbia portion of the range just north of the international boundary. That’s the same count U.S. and Canadian biologists compiled last spring, but up from 33 counted in 2004. The herd’s recovery range covers 2,000 square miles. Only 1,200-1,400 mount
ain caribou still roam the planet.”

Read the full story…

May 3, 2009 – Photographs reveal wild travelers beneath U.S. 93
“Bears, bobcats, river otters and owls have discovered a network of 42 underpasses built into the roadway between Evaro and Polson. Photographic evidence shows a host of critters using the tunnels as cars zoom overhead. […] There’ve been questions from members of the public and even some transportation engineering officials, whether or not these things were really going to be effective, Basting said. The photos reaffirm and reassure decision-makers these things do work.

Read the full story…

May 4, 2009 – Grey Wolf Taken Off Endangered List
“The grey wolf was Monday taken off the U.S. list of endangered species, making a comeback 35 years after it virtually disappeared and can now be hunted in most states, officials said. “We have recovered a wolf population,” said Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, based in Montana.”

Read the full story…

May 8, 2009 – Save the birds? Save their habitat
“International Migratory Bird Day, which falls tomorrow, reminds us of the remarkable phenomenon we witness every year at this time: an amazing spring migration, with millions of birds flying thousands of kilometres from South and Central America and the southern United States north to Canada’s vast boreal forest. But with each passing year, the number of these avian visitors diminishes. In fact, migratory songbirds are experiencing one of the most precipitous declines of any animal group on earth.”

Read the full story…

May 8, 2009 – Managing Douglas-fir forests for diversity
“Creating diverse forests for multiple uses is important to natural resource managers and landowners. A study conducted in southwestern Oregon provides forest managers with information that offers choices when managing land for a variety objectives that may include a high level of wood production, a moderate level of wood production with some wildlife habitat features, or low wood production that provides cover and forage for a wider variety of wildlife species.”

Read the full story…

May 11, 2009 – High human impact ocean areas along US West Coast revealed
“Every single spot of the ocean along the West Coast, said Ben Halpern, a marine ecologist at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California at Santa Barbara, “is affected by 10 to 15 different human activities annually.” In a two-year study to document the way humans are affecting the oceans in this region, Halpern and colleagues overlaid data on the location and intensity of 25 human-derived sources of ecological stress, including climate change, commercial and recreational fishing, land-based sources of pollution and ocean-based commercial activities. With the information, they produced a composite map of the status of West Coast marine ecosystems.”

Read the full story…

May 13, 2009 – More protection urged for forest
“Scientists yesterday called on the federal government to increase the area of protected land in Canada’s boreal forest over concerns about a decline in bird populations. About eight per cent of the 1.4-billion-acre forest that stretches from Yukon to Newfoundland is protected by Ottawa, and a further 30 per cent has been set aside for oil and gas, mining, logging and hydro development, according to Nature Canada.”

Read the full story…

May 16, 2009 – Invest in islands to save most species
“Looking for a sound investment to combat the biodiversity crisis? Spend your cash on an island. It turns out they are about nine times as valuable as an equally large piece of mainland. So says the first worldwide analysis of the importance of different regions for maintaining global biodiversity.”

Read the full story…

May 18, 2009 – Blue whales return to old stomping grounds
“Blue whales are returning to Alaska in search of food and could be re-establishing an old migration route several decades after they were nearly wiped out by commercial whalers, scientists say.”

Read the full story…

May 18, 2009 – Scientist discovers beavers building prime salmon habitat in Skagit Delta
“A scientist goes looking for a shrub and discovers a nearly lost world of tidal beavers thriving in a rare habitat in the Skagit Delta. His discovery raises questions for salmon-recovery projects based on incomplete information — likened to a kind of ecological amnesia about what was here before.”

Read the full story…

May 26, 2009 – TimberWest supports salmon enhancement projects on Island
“Salmon enhancement in the Valley received a helping hand this week. TimberWest Forest Corp. announced that they would support 12 Vancouver Island salmon enhancement projects through the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Community Salmon Program. Two of these projects are based in Port Alberni.”

Read the full story…


FORREX Forum for Research and Extension in Natural Resources is a charitable non-profit organization that envisions a society of continuous learners making decisions in support of sustainable ecosystems and communities.


Leave a comment or question...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.