Innovation Anthology

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Program ID: Innovation Anthology #313
Program Date: 05/11/2010
Program Category: Conservation, Energy, Environment, Forests, Natural Resources, Natural Sciences, Wildlife

ILM: Triage Approach to Recovery for Woodland Caribou

Saving woodland caribou in Alberta depends on three factors.

According to Dr. Rick Schneider of the Integrated Landscape Management Program at the University of Alberta, this means curtailing industrial activity, reclaiming seismic lines and roads, and culling wolves.

But the costs are high. So with the help of computer modeling, Dr. Schneider has developed what he calls a “triage approach” to help people decide which herds to save.

DR. RICK SCHNEIDER: There are some that are doing not so bad, some that are almost on the edge of extinction right now. So ranking herds on a variety of factors, beyond just where their trends are and how big their populations are, there are a number of other factors to take into account. And then there are costs. Some are very expensive, the ones that sit right atop the oil sands are literally tens of billions of dollars of opportunity costs lost there, whereas other entire ranges really have not much oil or gas value at all, could be protected for next to no cost to the crown. So by weighing all these factors you can provide a ranking of the herds. Which one would be the first herd you’d pick if you could only do one?

Without the triage approach, Dr. Schneider believes we’ll lose all the caribou herds.



  • NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Integrated Landscape Management
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The Alberta Conservation Association is crowdfunding through Indigogo to raise $100,000 to purchase land near Edmonton that is critical piping plover habitat.  According to ACA wildlife biologist Lance Engley, at last count there were only 250 piping plovers in Alberta.


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