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UNBC hosting free lecture about inland temperate rainforest ecosystem collapse

“Is Ecosystem Collapse Imminent for the Inland Temperate Rainforest of British Columbia?'
Ancient-cedar-stand-logging
Ancient cedar stands are now rare in regional landscape due to past logging, shown here within areas now in the Ancient Forest park.

The University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) will be hosting a free lecture on Friday (Oct. 15) warning about the collapse of the B.C. Interior Wetbelt and inland temperate rainforest if provincial logging practices don’t change.

Dr. Dominick DellaSala, Chief Scientist from Wild Heritage, Earth Island Institute based in Oregon led the international study on the inland temperate rainforest, warning of ecosystem collapse in core areas within nine to 18 years.

The study was published in the journal Land and features contributions from two UNBC professors, Darwyn Coxson and Jeff Werner, in the Ecosystem Science and Management program.

The study looked at B.C.’s Interior Wetbelt (IWB) and inland temperate rainforest (ITR) ecosystems, a 10.7 million ha region on the western slopes of the Columbia and Rocky Mountains, extending from south of the U.S. border to the upper Fraser River watershed.

The researchers found that core areas of old-growth or primary forest (buffered by 100-meters from roads and developments) declined by 70 per cent to 95 per cent for the IWB and ITR respectively since 1970. 

This was mainly due to clearcut logging, which accounted for 57 per cent of all anthropogenic disturbances.

When ecosystem criteria from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) were applied to this region, the IWB was ranked as Endangered and the ITR as Critical.

DellaSala’s talk entitled “Is Ecosystem Collapse Imminent for the Inland Temperate Rainforest of British Columbia?” is open to the public to attend either online or in-person.

“Dominick DellaSala’s visit provides an important opportunity for collaboration between the international scientific community and UNBC researchers and further recognition of the critical ecosystems we have on our doorstep here in Prince George,” says Coxson.

The in-person lecture is organized by UNBC’s Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Institute and sponsored by the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund and will take place on Oct. 15 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Room 8-164. Those interested can also attend online.

While in Prince George, DeSalla along with Coxson and other researchers will also visit Hungary Creek, an old-growth forest stand east of Prince George that provides a critical conservation corridor between the Ancient Forest/Chun T’oh Whudujut and Sugarbowl Grizzly Den Provincial Parks and has been proposed for protection by the UNBC faculty.