Bulkley Valley Research Centre - Science in the Public Interest

Evaluating how shifts in forest stand composition and structure will influence the quality and distribution of northern caribou forest habitat.

Project Reference Number: 2018-16

Project Status: Active

Led by: Che Elkin

Funder: Ministry of Environment

This is a collaborative research project between UNBC, BVRC and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change that aims to evaluate how projected changes in the composition and structure of forest in north central B.C. will influence the distribution and quality of northern Caribou forest habitat. At the landscape scale Caribou habitat is influenced by a range of processes operating on different temporal and spatial scales. In the near term, large scale disturbances, such as mountain pine beetles’ and fires, can drastically influence the abundance and quality of forest habitat. Over intermediate and longer time frames the structure and composition of B.C.’s forests are expected to be influenced by natural successional process, external drives such as regional climate, and the forest management, harvesting and reforestation strategies that are undertaken at a local and provincial level.

The objective of our project is to develop a quantitative framework for projecting how forest stands will change over the mid-term period, and to evaluate how reforestation strategies and silviculture treatments may study locations based on a critical evaluation of data availability, the correspondence of the region with the selected modeling framework, and an evaluation of the importance of the case study region for northern Caribou populations in B.C.