Wildfire Risk Assessment for the Southern Gulf Islands

Forest fire risk modeling is a new and rapidly developing approach to managing the threat of wildfire to British Columbia communities. The demand for forest fire risk assessment technology is growing rapidly in British Columbia due to the increasing number and extent of forest fires as well as the rapid expansion of residential housing in rural areas. The Gulf Islands National Park Reserve Fire Risk Assessment Project is developing a model that will identify the areas where fires are most likely to start and most likely to cause damage (both to endangered ecosystems and to human values).

Estimating Relative Trends in Cetacean Abundance from Data Collected for an Opportunistic Sightings Network

British Columbia’s coastline is home to eighteen species of cetaceans (such as whales, dolphins and porpoises) and three species of sea turtles. Nine of these species are at risk of extinction. To conserve them, it is crucial to learn more about their distribution/abundance and habitat use. The British Columbia Cetaceans Sightings Network (BCCSN) was established to gather sightings of these species from a network of mariners and coastal citizens. Since then, the BCCSN has received thousands of sightings from hundreds of observers up and down the coast.

Predicting suitable habitat for deep-sea corals in BC

Although the existence of deep-sea coral reefs has been known for centuries, it is only in the last decade that interest and understanding of these ecosystems have increased. There is a growing concern about the diversity and magnitude of anthropogenic (human) threats to these fragile habitats. Bottom trawling poses by far the largest threat. These corals are in need of protection, but a lack of basic information on the distribution and extent of deep sea corals in BC is constraining managers’ ability provide this protection.

Making Connections for Conservation: Restoring the Coastal Dune Ecosystem of Island View Beach and the Cordova Spit

This study seeks to work towards a restoration plan for one of the most significant coastal dune ecosystems ties remaining on Vancouver Island. The dune ecosystem at the Cordova Spit represents a unique and fragile environment that offers vital habitat to a number of plants and animals that are at-risk in BC, including several different groups and dozens of species of migratory birds. A large pt of the study site is located on the Tsawout First Nation reserve and is culturally significant to the community.

Vancity Climate Change Strategy

Vancity Credit Union has been a leader on the climate change issue for many years and has been actively attempting to reduce its carbon footprint since the mid-1990s. Climate change activities at Vancity were undertaken to invest in Canadian solutions to climate change, to build local knowledge about reducing emissions and to create local sources of high-quality carbon offsets. The carbon offset program, in particular, was developed under the advisement of The David Suzuki Foundation, the Natural Step, the Pembina Institute and Ecotrust.

Evaluating Harvest Management Procedures for Spatially-structured Fish Populations

Many fish populations have spatial structure which is not explicitly recognized in assessment or management. For example, Pacific herring are managed as five discrete stocks in BC, but there is evidence of both regional and within-stock diversity that may determine the capacity of the five large stocks to sustain themselves over time. This spatial structure is maintained by movement of fish among and between sub-populations within the greater, coast-wide metapopulation.

Quantifying the Responses of Songbirds and Woodpeckers to Changes in Habitat at the Stand and Landscape Scales: Testing for Thresholds and Setting Management Targets

How do species respond to changes in habitat, and can their responses be used to set reliable management targets? The intern’s research is focused on determining whether forest birds respond non-linearly to the loss of forest habitat due to logging. For example, theoretical models show that the probability of finding forest birds within a given patch of forest declines sharply when less than 30% of forest cover remains in the patch. A point of sharp decline in a graph of a particular response to habitat loss is referred to as a 'critical threshold' or 'habitat threshold'.

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