Industry Guidelines for Boreal Caribou – Phase 1

Boreal Caribou Habitat
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EDI Digs Into the Literature and Creates a Functional Database

While EDI team members often undertake projects in the great outdoors of western and northern Canada, an essential part of our work also occurs at our desks. Desktop work usually involves literature reviews and desktop screenings. Rachelle Robitaille, a terrestrial ecologist in our EDI Vancouver office, recently served as the lead for a project that involved a literature review and creation of a database for boreal caribou protective measures. This work serves as the basis for the development of industry guidelines for the protection of boreal caribou in the Northwest Territories (NWT).

Boreal caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) are listed as a “threatened” species both nationally and territorially under Species at Risk legislation. These caribou occur in the boreal forest of all Canadian provinces and territories, except the Maritimes and Nunavut. The NWT has one of the largest continuous ranges for boreal caribou. Boreal caribou are typically found in very low densities, do not undertake long distance seasonal migrations, and tend to spread out during the calving season to reduce the risk of predation. The main threats to boreal caribou across Canada are thought to be habitat changes from human disturbances, increases in wolf predation within caribou habitat, and fires.

The focus of the boreal caribou literature review was to find existing standards and guidelines from other Canadian jurisdictions that could be applied within, and be practical for, NWT industry sectors. Rachelle and her team had to find an efficient method for standardizing the summary of over 100 documents reviewed by different team members within a defined time frame and budget. The solution they came up with was the use of a database. “The database gave us a very organized and visible structure into which we could put information when reviewing various reports and journal articles. The fact that it is searchable according to various categories, such as industry and province, is a real bonus,” explains Rachelle. The literature review report and database represent the first phase of this multi-phased project in drafting industry guidelines for the protection of boreal caribou in the NWT.

Feel free to contact our EDI team members if you would like help conducting literature reviews or desktop screenings. Click HERE to view our contact information.

Rachelle Robitaille, EDI Terrestrial Ecologist

Rachelle Robitaille, EDI Terrestrial Ecologist


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