Manitoba’s Parks and Protected Spaces branch has hard-working and talented staff but there simply aren’t enough of them. They also don’t have the funds to accelerate the efforts required with communities and stakeholders to identify and conserve the wild places that would secure wildlife populations, sustain local cultures and continue to store carbon.
Conservation of vast complexes of undisturbed boreal wetlands and forests needs to be top priority because if the carbon they hold is disturbed and released into the atmosphere, it would accelerate climate change. These complexes are also critical as natural flood mitigation infrastructure necessary for adapting to the impacts of a changing climate.
As of this month, the province of Manitoba has received over 21,000 petitions and letters collected in the province that call for stronger efforts to protect and recover threatened boreal woodland caribou. The correspondences, facilitated by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), were delivered in advance of yesterday’s federal deadline for provinces and territories to outline recovery actions for woodland caribou ranges.
Many views have been expressed recently about how Manitoba can do its part to help address climate change. The potential for a carbon tax or a cap and trade system have dominated these discussions. Many wonder how Manitoba can make a significant contribution to the effort when we are responsible for only a small fraction of global emissions.
In its third annual review of government action to conserve Canada’s boreal caribou, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) finds there has been spotted progress – with too few jurisdictions showing significant leadership in protecting the species that has long graced our 25-cent piece. Under the federal Species-at-Risk Act, all provinces and territories are required to have plans in place to recover their boreal woodland caribou populations by 2017, based on the 2012 Final Recovery Strategy for Boreal Woodland Caribou.