BC’s Inland Rainforest – Conservation and Community
Rainforest conservation biology corridor for Robson Valley
Rick Zammuto 1
Ten years of research by STCL resulted in the first significant Conservation Plan on the Upper Fraser River of 20,000 sq. km (5 million acres; Save-The-Cedar League 1997). Some 15,000 sq. km (3.7 million acres) of this Conservation Plan have been protected by law east of Prince George.
A Rainforest Conservation Corridor therein of 10,000 sq. km includes the most ancient and extensive heart of the world's only Inland Temperate Rainforest (also Oroboreal); some of the highest biodiversity of vertebrate and tree species in NA; and is a critical landscape linkage connecting many Parks of southern Canada's largest “Protected Area Network” (Save-The-Cedar League 1997, 2002, 2007).
Conservation Area Designs (CADs) of vertebrate species distribution, general biodiversity, forest age, old growth status, and other factors identified our Rainforest Conservation Corridor as the largest Conservation Biology Core Area remaining in the entire 15 million ha Inland Rainforest for sustaining seven Focal Species outside of Parks (Mountain Caribou, Chinook Salmon, Grizzly Bear, Wolverine, Lynx, Cougar, Wolf; Craighead and Cross 2004). Field research and DNA analyses identified our Corridor as the last place in the entire Rocky Mountains where Grizzly Bears still fish for wild anadromous salmon (called Salmon-Grizzly, Weaver and Zammuto 2004). These and other data and consultation with scientists and communities identified our Rainforest Corridor critical to the long-term needs of communities and biodiversity, so that government has legally protected more than 50% of our Corridor since it was proposed (Save-The-Cedar League 2002).
We present techniques and templates that have leveraged new policies for Rainforest sustainability. We find that the strongest justification to protect the Rainforest is reached when scientists, communities, and conservationists act as one voice, influencing government to write conservation laws. We also present some of our latest conservation planning documents that provide scientific rationales and CAD maps of "What Must We Do" to sustain the Ancient Rainforest's high biodiversity, endangered wildlife habitat, carbon sink to avert climate change, and to sustain alternative economic activities of communities (Save-The-Cedar League 2007):
1. Protect the Walker Rainforest Wilderness the largest Inland Rainforest Wilderness remaining outside of Parks (2000 sq. km, 775 sq. mi), containing Core Areas of seven Focal Species, the highest Salmon-Grizzly population in the region, and containing 100 endangered Mountain Caribou.
2. Implement the 2004 legislation to protect an additional 32,000 ha of ancient Red Cedar Rainforest (Antique ICHvk, ICHwk3) as "Spatial Old Growth Management Areas." Government plans protection for only some of the 32,000 ha of Cedar-leading stands required by law.
3. Add the Upper Cariboo River to Bowron Park to protect its Mountain Caribou.
4. Inter-connect our Rainforest Corridor, Walker Wilderness, Old Growth Management Areas, and Caribou Habitat to the largest “Protected Area Network” in southern Canada for sustainability.
Dedicated to the Late Colleen McCrory whose
exemplary work is reflected in all the above
1 Executive Director and Interdisciplinary Ecologist, Save-The-Cedar League, Crescent Spur, British Columbia V0J 3E0. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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