Protecting large areas of caribou habitat is the only proven solution for caribou recovery. Restoring habitats is not proven to work.
Thank you for this opportunity to provide comments regarding the recovery of Manitoba’s threatened woodland caribou populations.
The Manitoba government missed its first self-imposed deadline to develop action plans to recover its woodland caribou populations in 2010.
A new provincial caribou recovery strategy, released in 2015, committed to producing recovery action plans for caribou in 2018. Another deadline passed.
Moreover, the federal government asked Manitoba to have these plans in place by 2017.
Now we are in 2022 and the province is finally asking Manitobans what they think about caribou recovery. Still no plans. Just another agreement to produce them.
Manitoba’s caribou recovery strategy commits to protect and manage for 65-80% percent intact suitable boreal caribou habitat in 9 caribou management units.
The plans for caribou recovery are desperately needed to ensure recovery efforts will be seen on the ground before populations see further drastic declines.
As the only proven effective method for ensuring long term caribou survival, CPAWS Manitoba continues to advocate for the recovery of this species through the protection of large-scale, intact habitats throughout their range in our province, along with the proper management of these areas.
We are pleased that CPAWS’ efforts resulted in the caribou strategy identifying the need for large cores areas for caribou where forestry will not occur.
We cannot simply rely on adaptive management as a potential cure for recovering this threatened species. As restoring habitat for caribou recovery has yet to be proven effective, we have to remember this approach is merely an experiment that may or may not work in the future. Large protected areas, where industrial activities and associated road networks are prohibited, is the only proven solution.
CPAWS urges the Manitoba government to ensure that large protected areas are secured for recovery of threatened woodland caribou along with carefully managed developments on the remaining landscape.
Woodland caribou are an "umbrella species" — they’re sensitive to disturbance, and thrive in intact forest. As such, woodland caribou is a strong indicator species for the health of the broader boreal. Therefore, establishing large protected areas in the caribou habitat provide a home and secure habitat for hundreds of boreal forest species.
The carbon-rich boreal forest caribou habitats also store huge quantities of carbon in trees and soils. Protecting these carbon stores would be a meaningful contribution from Manitoba to mitigating global climate change.
In closing, we strongly recommend following Manitoba’s caribou recovery strategy by ensuring large protected areas are established, with appropriate consultations with relevant Indigenous nations, as a key component of upcoming caribou action plans.
We further urge that the long overdue caribou action plans are complete within the timelines provided in the Section 11 Agreement. As initial commitments to produce these plans by 2010 have long passed, we cannot afford any further delays if we wish to recover woodland caribou and their habitats for all people and
On behalf of CPAWS,
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) - Manitoba chapter