Habitat loss is a leading cause of species endangerment. In Canada, habitat loss has been linked to declines of woodland caribou.
New research lead by the Caribou Monitoring Unit has found that caribou populations have lost twice as much habitat as they gained during a 12-year period (2000–2012). Forest cutting was a major cause of habitat loss for Southern Mountain Caribou, whereas wildfire was the greatest source of habitat loss for other ecotypes (Boreal and Northern Caribou). In addition, the creation of linear features that fragment habitat, such as roads and seismic lines, outpaced the regrowth and recovery of these lines.
These patterns have continued to occur while various provincial and federal plans and policies are seeking to conserve and recover woodland caribou habitat, including the federal woodland caribou recovery strategies under the federal Species at Risk Act, the Mountain Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan in British Columbia, and Alberta’s Woodland Caribou Recovery Plan.