Context: The Monitoring Working group is part of the NBCKC

The National Boreal Caribou Knowledge Consortium (NBCKC) is a forum for collaborative knowledge generation and sharing to support the conservation and recovery of boreal caribou across Canada, which was established following the commitment outlined in the 2018 Federal Action Plan for boreal caribou. The NBCKC is coordinated by a secretariat housed in Environment and Climate Change Canada's Science and Technology Branch, but its direction is driven by its members, who are academics, Indigenous Peoples, government representatives, wildlife co-management boards, industry experts, and ENGOs. The NBCKC brings together experts and knowledge holders to share lessons learned, pool capacity, address knowledge gaps, and inform conservation and recovery of boreal caribou.

To read more about the NBCKC, click here.

Overview: the Monitoring Working Group 

In order to make decisions on how best to conserve and protect caribou, we need to have accurate information on caribou populations. Although this information could be applied more generally if everyone collects the same kind of data in the same way, the variability of caribou habitat across the country makes such standardization difficult. For example, what works for monitoring caribou in the mountains of British Columbia, may not work in the boreal plains of Saskatchewan, the forests of Quebec, or the hills of Labrador. Therefore, for caribou monitoring programs to be successful in the long term, they must consider the array of methods available for Knowing Caribou, and follow best practices when applying each of those methods.

The 2018 Action Plan for the Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), Boreal Population, in Canada: Federal actions for the Threatened boreal caribou called for the collaborative development of national population monitoring protocols. In 2018, the National Boreal Caribou Knowledge Consortium (NBCKC) formed its first working group, the Monitoring Working Group, to investigate caribou population monitoring priorities, methods, constraints, and best practices.

Knowledge sharing, generation, and mobilization from the Monitoring Working group 

Knowledge sharing:

The Monitoring Working Group first conducted interviews with experts and knowledge holders from across Canada, to (i) investigate the diversity of monitoring priorities and constraints across the boreal range, (ii) document the variability in methods used, and (iii) capture the perspectives and concerns expressed by individuals and organizations. The information arising from these interviews was then used to produce a report, Boreal Caribou Monitoring in Canada Part I: Perspectives from the NBCKC Monitoring Working Group. 

Knowledge generation and mobilization:

Having established and documented the perspectives surrounding boreal caribou monitoring, the working group then aimed to develop a set of guidance tools for the design and selection of suitable methods for monitoring boreal caribou populations under different scenarios. These tools are intended to inform both the development of emerging monitoring programs as well as the re-evaluation of current monitoring practices. This work is ongoing, however, the working group has released a number of tools to the ever-evolving Boreal Caribou Monitoring Toolkit  ("the toolkit").

The Boreal Caribou Monitoring toolkit
To explore the boreal caribou monitoring toolkit, click on the image.

The current objectives of the toolkit are:

  1. To centralize existing resources relevant to the monitoring of boreal caribou, 
  2. To provide valuable and accessible guidance for anyone engaged in, or planning to initiate, monitoring programs, and 
  3. To identify where knowledge gaps still exist, such that toolkit users may see opportunities to contribute resources to the toolkit. It is important to highlight that the toolkit is intended to be an 'evergreen' resource; as new resources and information are brought forward, these may be added to the toolkit as standalone pieces or may be incorporated into existing tools. To be clear, toolkit users are encouraged to submit resources and documents they feel would enhance the overall value of the toolkit. 

Member organizations include: 

Members from the following organizations have given consent for their organizations to be listed

  • Arsenault Wildlife Services

  • Fort McKay First Nation

  • Fort McKay Metis Nation

  • Government of British Columbia

  • Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Government of the Northwest Territories

  • Government of Ontario

  • Government of Saskatchewan

  • Métis Nation of Alberta Region 5

  • Mining Association of Canada

  • Torngat Wildlife, Plants & Fisheries Secretariat

  • Wood Canada