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Canada: Protecting species diversity

Source:  Copyright 2008, Nelson Star
Date:  July 17, 2008
Original URL: Status ONLINE

The lamentations began even before B.C.’s sweeping report on the state of its natural environment was released last week. The usual leaks from organized critic groups to friendly media laid the spin down for the city folks: nice scientific work and pretty maps but no endangered species law, so it’s logging as usual.

The poster animals for the environmental movement are well known: spotted owl, mountain caribou. A closer look at those reveals the complexity of the issues involved.

Spotted owl habitat was set aside in 1997, but despite that the numbers in B.C. have fallen so low that a captive breeding program was set up. Green activists say ‘it’s the logging, stupid,’ but in fact one of the key problems found in a decade of intensive study is that the owls haven’t chosen to occupy some of the protected areas. One reason is barred owls pushing them out. And it’s not often mentioned that B.C. is actually the extreme northern fringe ...

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