The Interior Wetbelt (IWB) of British Columbia, which includes the globally rare Inland Temperate Rainforest (ITR), contains primary forests poorly attributed and neglected in conservation planning. The ITR is one of only three inland temperate rainforests globally, has the highest richness of lichens of any temperate rainforest, including many species found primarily in old-growth forest and others only recently described, and has regionally significant carbon stocks on par with BC’s coastal temperate rainforests. We evaluated the IWB and ITR using four IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Criteria: geographic distribution, environmental degradation (abiotic and biotic), and likelihood of ecosystem collapse. Clearcut logging (3.2M ha) represented 57% of all anthropogenic disturbances since the 1940s, reducing potential primary forest by 2.7 million ha (28%) for the IWB and 524,003 ha (39%) for the ITR. Decadal logging rates nearly doubled from 5.3% to 10.2% from 1970s–2000s. Core areas (buffered by 100-m from roads and developments) declined by 70% to 95% for the IWB and ITR, respectively. Overall, the IWB was ranked as Endangered and the ITR as Critical with core area collapse imminent for the ITR, considered one of the world’s most imperiled temperate rainforests. In order to ensure BC’s critical primary forest legacy persists in a changing climate, all remaining primary forests need to be protected and others restored in collaboration with First Nations in provincial conservation planning.
The Natural Resources & Environmental Studies Institute (NRESi) at UNBC hosts a weekly lecture series at the Prince George campus. Anyone from the university or wider community with interest in the topic area is welcome to attend. Go to http://www.unbc.ca/nres-institute/colloquium-webcasts to view the presentation remotely.
This event is funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation is a non-profit charitable foundation acting as Trustee of the Habitat Conservation Trust. HCTF came into existence because its major contributors (hunters, anglers, trappers, and guide-outfitters) were willing to pay for conservation work above and beyond that expected by government for basic management of wildlife and fish resources.
Past NRESi colloquium presentations and special lectures can be viewed on our video archive, available here.
Please Note: NRESi colloquium presentations this semester will be available to attend both in-person as well as online. However, those wishing to attend in-person must wear a mask as per Provincial Health Officer (PHO) orders and University policy. Thank you for your understanding.