This week Alberta’s forest companies vowed $5-million, including $1-million from West Fraser, to caribou research. The funding is going towards the newly created Alberta Regional Caribou Knowledge Network.
“West Fraser is pleased to support the creation of the Alberta Regional Caribou Knowledge Network. We’re providing it with financial support and in-kind resources to identify knowledge gaps and undertake regionally-relevant research that contributes to the recovery of Woodland Caribou in Alberta,” says Richard Briand, Chief Forester, Alberta. “We anticipate several streams of study, including the exploration of innovative forestry practices to create habitats suitable for caribou use, both for now and the future.”
The Network is a group of academics, government officials, and industry representatives. They’re researching how to improve survival rates of woodland caribou, which are a threatened species. The group will review current knowledge gaps and develop collaboration opportunities for the future.
“Tackling complex issues, like caribou conservation, requires collaboration and innovation. The Alberta Regional Caribou Knowledge Network is going to do just that,” says Laura Trout, West Fraser’s senior biologist.
The funding is allocated over a five-year period and was made possible with funds from the Forest Resource Improvement Program. A portion of stumpage fees collected by the Government of Alberta go towards projects, such as this one. The program looks to enhance our forest resource and its different needs. Over the years, this program has funded projects such as researching mountain pine beetle and helping communities better prepare for wildfires. The province of B.C. has invested in similar efforts for its caribou population, and West Fraser continues to do different research on caribou and other wildlife.