BC’s independent watchdog for sound forest practices says an investigation of a complaint has concluded that the population of a fur-bearing animal is at a high risk of decline or local elimination west of Quesnel.
An investigation was launched after complaints by two trappers found that government did not take steps to ensure the protection of fisher habitat according to the Forest Practices Board.
The Nazko area experienced widespread tree mortality from mountain pine beetles which resulted in extensive salvage harvesting in the complainants’ trapping area between 2002 and 2017.
Board chair Kevin Kriese said in a media release while licensees did make some efforts to protect habitat when designing individual cutblocks these efforts were insufficient given the unprecedented scale of salvage logging across the landscape.
The area was also extensively damaged by forest fires in 2017.
“The board is concerned that unplanned salvage of fire-damaged stands could make a grave situation even worse,” Kriese said.
“We are recommending that government take steps to address fisher habitat needs and work to restore the local population over time.”
A 2003 Furbearer Management Guideline for fisher said despite low trapper interest and harvests for more than a decade, provincial managers believe that the population is currently at a low level.
“Accordingly, the fisher has been assigned to the provincial Red List as an “imperiled” species.”
A fisher habitat working group was formed in 2009 with the goal of “communicating information to the people that can affect the quantity and quality of fisher habitat on the landscape across British Columbia.”