Hiking in the Yukon. Image: Pat Morrow
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"I left inspired to protect the special places in my own backyard."
Sara Renner, Y2Y supporter

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Cutting Edge Science Faces Off With Climate Change

The Muskwa-Kechika Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Change Assessment.

“Land managers caring for northern British Columbia’s Muskwa-Kechika Management Area need tools to make wise decisions in the face of climate change,” says Wendy Francis, Y2Y’s Program Director. “And that is where science comes in.”

In 2011, Y2Y commissioned a report based on the latest planning tools to help highlight the conservation values of the greater Muskwa-Kechika (M-K) ecosystem. According to one of the project’s partners, Chloe O'Loughlin, Executive Director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – BC Chapter (CPAWS-BC), the report is far-sighted. With budget cuts and development pressure looming in the M-K, the timing couldn’t be better.

“Very few people have tried to tackle the complex question of how to protect habitat when climate change will radically rearrange entire ecosystems,” says O'Loughlin. “Y2Y’s report explains very clearly, how to protect M-K landscapes in light of climate change; it should give us all hope.”

Moose from the Muskwa-Kechika area. Photo: Wayne Sawchuk

The report identifies areas outside protected landscapes that are in need of protection due to their importance to wildlife, their biological diversity, or their rarity. It also suggests areas where development proposals should be assessed carefully so as to avoid negative impacts on conservation values. Finally, it highlights places most likely to be impacted by climate change.

The study, commissioned by the Muskwa-Kechika Advisory Board, with funding from Wilburforce Foundation, and completed in collaboration with CPAWS-BC and Gregory Kehm Associates, will be published and distributed in 2012.