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British Columbia

The Inland Temperate Rainforest extends from the headwaters of the Fraser and Columbia Rivers along the western side of the Rockies across the US border to the northern parts of Washington, Idaho, and Montana.

Wildlife know no borders

Looking up, Inland Temperate Rainforest. Dave Quinn
Looking up, Inland Temperate Rainforest. Dave Quinn

Conservation Northwest works closely with Canadian and US allies to protect Canadian old-growth forests and wildlife, like grizzly bears, across the border. We use the tools of outreach, education, collaborative efforts, and industry and government accountability.

For many years we have been the major regional US group looking out for wildlife across the border, because "nature knows no borders." Indeed, British Columbia is a "pipeline" for wildlife diversity to the US. Wildlife need no passports to cross national borders; what they do need is some assurance of protection and protected habitat.

Our work protects a landscape in lower British Columbia that not only supplies diversity southward to the United States but is a lifeline for wide-ranging species from mountain caribou and moose to grizzly bears and fishers.

Diverse ecosystems, rich wildlife

Southern British Columbia encompasses distinct ecosystems, ranging from mountains to deserts to rainforest. Traveling across BC takes you from the open pine forests on the east side of the Coast Range, through very dry pocket deserts and grasslands of the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys, to wetter Columbia Mountains and interior rainforest. Crossing west of the Columbia River headwaters leads you to the westernmost range of the Rockies in the rainshadow of the Columbia and Purcell mountains.

Mountain caribou. Rob Sinclair
Mountain caribou. Rob Sinclair

The province's extremely diverse landforms provide habitat to equally rich and varied wildlife, including Canada lynx, wolverine, badgers and rattlesnakes.

Inland Temperate Rainforest

For years our work has focused on the Inland Temperate Rainforest, stretching from the headwaters of the Fraser and Columbia Rivers to the northern extremes of Washington, Idaho, and Montana. This rainforest is the only place on earth where temperate rainforests are found so far inland from the sea.

Windward of the BC Rockies, weather systems from the Pacific Ocean collide with the Columbia Mountains to create lush interior forests, habitat for many unique plants and animals. Mountain caribou are one of hundreds of species of wildlife that rely on the Inland Temperate Rainforest, its deep snows, lichen-draped old growth trees, and bounteous lakes and rivers.

Thanks to the efforts of Conservation Northwest and other collaborators in the Mountain Caribou Project, in 2009 millions of hectares of inland temperate rainforest habitat were protected for endangered mountain caribou. The Southern Selkirks mountain caribou herd ranges down over the border of the Selkirk Mountains in northeastern Washington State.

Forest trade

In 2012, logging, much of it virgin forests, is still big business in British Columbia. Unfortunately, the US timber market drives the cutting of old-growth forests. Two-thirds of the wood products from BC's logged old-growth forests is exported to US customers. While we support an ecologically sustainable timber industry and lumber trade between our two countries, we encourage Americans and Canadians to only buy wood products from certified sustainable sources.

Protecting older forests assures sanctuary for mountain caribou and hundreds of other plant and animal species.

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