Blog: Caribou Habitat Loss Continues in Alberta and BC

Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute
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Despite Canada having some of the most intact forests in the world, habitat loss is a major cause of Woodland Caribou population declines. This new study is among the first to measure the net change—habitat gained through reforestation and natural tree growth minus habitat lost from fires and logging—in caribou habitat across 70 caribou herds in both BC and Alberta. It found that the net change was negative for nearly 70% of caribou ranges, and that, on average, they lost more than twice as much habitat as they gained over the period for which data were available (2000–2012). Moreover, the study found that seven caribou ranges lost nearly a quarter of their habitat from 2000 to 2018, and that, overall, habitat loss actually accelerated during that period, with average annual habitat loss in Alberta around double that in BC (0.60%/year in AB vs. 0.32%/year in BC).