Scientific Assessment to Inform the Identification of Critical Habitat for Woodland Caribou, Boreal Population, in Canada - 2011 Update: Preface

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This report describes work undertaken to inform the identification of critical habitat for the Boreal Population of Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in Canada, as part of the requirement for preparation of a National Recovery Strategy for this species under the federal Species at Risk Act. It extends earlier analyses also conducted for this purpose (Environment Canada 2008), and addresses identified limitations associated with implementation of that work. It does not address the need to consider Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge in the development of the National Recovery Strategy, which is being completed through an independent process.

The report presents a conceptual framework for a scientific description of critical habitat for boreal caribou, describes data necessary and available to support implementation of the framework, and applies a variety of analytical procedures and assessment criteria to evaluate and describe critical habitat for 57 boreal caribou ranges and associated populations, which in total, comprise the full extent of occurrence of the species in Canada.

While improved data would enhance our understanding and address outstanding uncertainties, the report concludes that sufficient information exists to support a scientific basis to inform the identification of critcal habitat for boreal populations across Canada. Methodologies to update this assessment with new information are presented, as part of a continual learning and improvement cycle to support the recovery of this species.

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