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.
FSC Canada’s National Forest Management Standard outlines three options to achieve conformance:
Implementation of a Species at Risk Act-compliance range plan
Managing caribou habitat that takes into account the state of habitat quality and caribou populations; or
Management of caribou habitat that takes into account new scientific information, is supported by independent experts and is collaborative