B.C. Wildlife Federation recommendations, advocacy and education
The B.C. Wildlife Federation (BCWF) has been working with the provincial government and First Nations to proactively address post-fire recovery. There is tremendous potential to restore dwindling wildlife populations if we manage the recovery properly. The greatest threats to recovery include salvage logging, road building, and the associated motor vehicle access. Motor vehicles bring weeds, compacted soil, erosion, sedimentation and habitat fragmentation.
As a result, the BCWF is advocating for a new approach to logging to help restore our forests and support wildlife recovery. This new approach will help reduce soil disturbance, invasive weeds, habitat fragmentation and loss, and other negative effects of roads on wildlife and habitat. The approach includes reducing damage to soil and leaving green trees and large trees to minimize erosion and to ensure the understory has the ability to regenerate as quickly as possible.
In the interim the BCWF is advocating for motorized vehicle closures for all to reduce the potential environmental damage from industrial and recreational uses. These ecosystems are very fragile in their first year after a fire but will fill in quickly with new vegetation next spring if we ensure a light human presence on the landscape.
In addition, the BCWF will be meeting with government officials to focus on wildfire recovery in riparian areas for fish, ungulate winter range, open forest and grasslands as well as reducing road densities to ensure the best possible chance for recovery. The BCWF is also working with the Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Coalition on sustainable approaches to wildfire recovery.
Moreover, the BCWF has signed onto a white paper with more than fifty scientists and experts calling on the provincial government to act now and act strategically to mitigate the dire wildfire projections for British Columbia’s future. Two articles on the future of wildfires in British Columbia and sustainable mitigation solutions will be in your November/December BCWF BC Outdoors insert – one by BCWF Director of Fish and Wildlife Restoration on a more sustainable approach to forestry management and one by Dr. Mathieu Bourbonnais, one of the authors of the University of British Columbia – Okanagan white paper. Expect to hear more in the coming weeks and months.
The BCWF Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program will run a Conservation Webinar on wildfires, salvage logging and wildlife on the 14th of December. Click here for more information.
Jesse Zeman, BCWF Director of Fish and Wildlife Restoration