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UNBC lecture features top scientist from inland temperate rainforest study

Dr. Dominick DellaSala

Dr. Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist from Wild Heritage, Earth Island Institute based in Oregon, recently led an international study warning about the collapse of the B.C. Interior wetbelt and inland temperate rainforest within nine to 18 years if provincial logging practices don’t change. DellaSala is giving a lecture about it at the University of Northern British Columbia on Friday, Oct. 15.

His 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.

The in-person lecture, organized by UNBC’s Natural Resources & Environmental Studies Institute (NRESi) and sponsored by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, is from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Room 8-164. Those interested can also attend online.

DellaSala’s study, published in July’s issue of the journal Land features contributions from two UNBC professors, Dr. Darwyn Coxson and Jeff Werner, in the Ecosystem Science and Management program at UNBC. 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-metres 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.

“Dominick DellaSala’s visit to 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,” said Dr. Coxson.

DellaSala arrives in Prince George today (Wednesday, Oct. 13). On Thursday, he, along with Coxson and other researchers will 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 UNBC faculty.

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