A cooperative government-industry woodland caribou research program in northeastern Alberta Rippin, A. B.; Kearney, D. R.
Rapid development of large scale logging and increasingly intensive petroleum exploration and development in boreal mixed-wood forest of northeastern Alberta resulted in land use conflicts on caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) range. Attempts to resolve these conflicts resulted in the formation of a unique government/industry cooperative to jointly develop land use guidelines and to fund research programs to investigate various aspects of caribou ecology. The Northeast Region Standing Committee on Woodland Caribou (NERSC) was formed with the goal to develop an effective plan that will ensure the long term survival of caribou while allowing for renewable and non-renewable resource development. NERSC membership is diverse. The committee is comprised of representatives from 24 petroleum companies, two forest companies, two peat moss companies, and representatives of the aboriginal community, Alberta environmental Protection, Alberta Energy, and Alberta Energy and Utilities Board. This paper describes the mandate, structure and functioning of NERSC, and outlines the objectives and design of the caribou research program. The paper also describes how research findings were applied in recommending modified industrial land use guidelines to more effectively integrate caribou protection needs with industrial resource development objectives. It concludes with a discussion of this new process of cooperative land use management.
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