Species at Risk - Woodland Caribou

The impact of forest management practices on species at risk, specifically woodland caribou, has emerged as an issue of significant concern in Canada. Populations of woodland caribou are at varying degrees of risk and are particularly sensitive to habitat disturbance. As a result, FSC Canada has an indicator dedicated entirely to boreal woodland caribou in our National Forest Management Standard.

woodland caribou
Jérémie Leblond-Fontaine


Boreal caribou exist at sparse densities across broad areas of the northern boreal forest. The areas that they occupy have been identified by ranges and the key relationship between extent of forest disturbance and caribou productivity is calibrated at that broad spatial scale.

Most caribou ranges are larger than forest management units, and the boundaries are different. A significant challenge in developing the woodland caribou indicator is reconciling the scale at which the key relationship is assessed (i.e. caribou ranges) and the scale at which forests are managed (i.e. forest management units).

FSC Canada recognizes that the state of a caribou population is a key consideration in influencing how its environment should be managed. For circumstances in which a Species at Risk-compliant range plan does not exist, the boreal caribou indicator provides increasingly stringent requirements if the caribou population is decreasing or unknown.

woodland caribou
Jérémie Leblond-Fontaine

Our Approach

FSC Canada’s National Forest Management Standard outlines three options to achieve conformance:

  • Option A

    Implementation of a Species at Risk Act-compliance range plan

  • Option B

    Managing caribou habitat that takes into account the state of habitat quality and caribou populations; or

  • Option C

    Management of caribou habitat that takes into account new scientific information, is supported by independent experts and is collaborative 

Learning videos

What will it take to advance caribou conservation?

Overview of Boreal Woodland Caribou Ranges in Canada

Boreal Woodland Caribou in our National Standard


Caribou: Frequently Asked Questions
PDF, Size: 329.82KB
Canadian Federal Recovery Strategy
PDF, Size: 4.08MB
Range Plan Guidance for Woodland Caribou
PDF, Size: 1.58MB