FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 06, 2011
WASHINGTON – Bird Studies Canada volunteers have surpassed 2010 targets in collecting data needed to improve management of forest habitats for endangered bird species through a program supported by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).
Through the SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program, Bird Studies Canada will receive $240,000 for three years to provide scientific data and web-tools that SFI program participants can use to improve forest habitat management beyond regulatory compliance for the conservation of bird biodiversity and species at risk across Canada.
“As a result of our partnership with SFI, our Breeding Bird Atlas program has not only collected valuable new data, but also greatly increased our coverage of more remote regions thanks to the direct involvement of lands managed by SFI program participants,” Pete Davidson, manager of Bird Studies Canada’s British Columbia program, said today. “This means we will be able to deliver more reliable information about at-risk species such as the Canada Warbler and Chimney Swift to inform conservation planning across all sectors, including forestry.”
Bird Studies Canada partners with Environment Canada and more than 100 provincial government agencies, NGOs, industries, foundations, environmental consultancies and hundreds of volunteers to deliver the Breeding Bird Atlas projects in the Maritimes, Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and British Columbia, including seven SFI program participants – NewPage, Port Hawkesbury Corporation, Bowater Mersey Paper Company Ltd., Abitibi-Bowater, J.D. Irving Ltd., Acadian Timber and Louisiana-Pacific Corp.
The data collection is the initial phase of the SFI conservation grant project, providing information on where birds are found, their abundance and breeding status, which is crucial to know for the most effective direct conservation efforts. The next step is to engage more SFI program participants in the project, and integrate this information into their forest management plans.
“This work will provide our program participants with important data and the tools they need to manage these important habitats on lands certified to our program,” said SFI President and CEO Kathy Abusow. “Since its inception, the SFI program has had forest research as a requirement so this project with Bird Studies Canada is a natural fit.” Since 1995, SFI-certified organizations have invested more than $1.1 billion for research activities that improve the health, productivity and responsible management of forest resources.
Some companies are already using preliminary information from the Bird Studies Canada project. For example, Louisiana-Pacific Canada Ltd. is using preliminary distribution maps from the BC Breeding Bird Atlas to help determine species of concern within its operating area near Dawson Creek in northern British Columbia. “This kind of baseline information about the diversity and abundance of birds is a huge asset,” said company biologist Mark Phinney. “It means we can take steps to conserve habitat for specific species through instructions to our field crews who are ultimately responsible for implementing the management activities.”
When SFI launched its Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program in May 2010, it committed $675,000 to support nine projects – $307,500 for 2010 alone. Through the involvement of partners, the projects will leverage additional resources and achieve a total value of almost $2.7 million. Applicants were encouraged to address topics of current importance such as the role of certified forests in emerging bioenergy/carbon markets, improving wildlife habitat management, avoiding controversial sources of fiber such as those resulting from illegal logging, and delivering community benefits through activities involving partners such as government agencies, Aboriginal communities and universities.
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About Bird Studies Canada
Not-for-profit Bird Studies Canada advances the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of wild birds and their habitats, in Canada and elsewhere, through scientific studies that engage the skills, enthusiasm, and support of its members, volunteers, and the interested public. Bird Studies Canada works with a wide range of government, non-government and industry partners, and thousands of volunteer Citizen Scientists. Data from Bird Studies Canada’s surveys and targeted research projects are used to identify significant population changes and help direct conservation planning.
British Columbia Program Manager
Bird Studies Canada
604-940-4696 (Delta, British Columbia)