Greater Muskwa-Kechika - Collaborative Projects
Roughly the size of Ireland, the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area (Muskwa-Kechika) remains the wildest area in Canada’s Rocky Mountains. Maintaining its intact nature will provide not only a critical habitat for wildlife in the face of a changing climate but also a safe passage to connect northern wildlife to their southern populations.
Y2Y, in collaboration with its partners and contributing scientists, has completed a cutting edge Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Change Assessment of the renowned Muskwa-Kechika Management Area—one of Y2Y's Priority Areas , located in the northern Rocky Mountains of British Columbia.
This report recommends ways to protect the variety of life in the Muskwa-Kechika region using protected areas and other conservation management tools now and into the future. Click here to read a 2-page summary. Y2Y has also prepared a poster that will be presented at academic conferences, which has a summary of the reports finding.
"We expect the findings of this report will help governments and the full range of land users take steps to protect the vital ecosystems and wildlife of the Muskwa-Kechika region through this era of climate change," says Wendy Francis, Y2Y Program Director and one of the report's lead contributors. "Maintaining biodiversity and healthy wildlife populations depends not only on the existence of protected areas in core habitats but also on the maintenance of connectivity among them."
New information on the current state of affairs in the region is presented in the report. Maps indicate the location of the most diverse, rarest and most productive ecosystems, the sites of high levels of movement of four animal species (mountain goat, caribou, Stone’s sheep and moose) and the areas that are projected to have both the greatest and least upheaval due to climate change.
Based on this information the report summarizes a series of recommendations. The most important of which are:
- Many highly diverse, rare and/or productive ecosystems lie outside the current network of protected areas in the Muskwa-Kechika and need to be considered for higher levels of protection or special management;
- Many areas highly important to connectivity for four key ungulate species lie outside the current network of protected areas and need to be considered for higher levels of protection or special management;
- The extent of alpine ecosystems in the Muskwa-Kechika is expected to shrink from over 18% to just over 10% (a 40% reduction), threatening species like caribou and others that depend on high alpine habitats for food and breeding;
- Areas having high biodiversity and rarity that correspond with low projected climate upheaval are likely to be important refugia from climate change and deserve special management attention; and
- Areas having high biodiversity and rarity that correspond with high projected climate upheaval require connectivity with other areas to ensure, as much as possible, the ability of plants and animals to move and adapt.
The report concludes with a series of recommendations directed to the Muskwa-Kechika board and BC government decision-makers.
to read a 2-page summary of the report. A more comprehensive summary or the full report are also available for you to read.