Lichens: ecosystems unto themselves. They’re diverse, apparently ubiquitous, and foundational to life on terrestrial earth. But this episode isn’t really about lichen. It’s about an endangered species that relies on a lichen diet – a diet that is disappearing as fast as the old growth forest in British Columbia. Southern Mountain Caribou are at the nexus of a heated debate about conservation. What can we save? What should we let go? And most importantly, what are we willing to admit about the policies that brought us to this point?
Correction: The original version of this episode wrongly stated that the BC government did not notify the public about its plan to move the South Selkirk and South Purcell caribou herds. In fact, this move was publicized and supported by environmental groups.
Thanks to Jake Billingsley for bringing this to our attention.
For more information on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, please visit https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/.
For more information on caribou in the Wells Gray region, please visit https://1000clearcuts.ca/
Special thanks to The Narwhal for sharing their excellent journalism, The Land Conservancy of British Columbia, Fern Yip, Briony Penn, Ilana Fonariov, the Access to Media Education Society, Trevor Goward, Curtis Bjork, and, of course, Purple.
Thanks to Nicole Jahraus, Conor Fanning, Ilana Fonariov, Cassy Allan, and Simone Miller for reviewing and improving this episode.
A lot of research goes into each episode of Future Ecologies, including great journalism from a variety of media outlets, and we like to cite our sources:
Canada British Columbia Conservation Agreement for Southern Mountain Caribou in British Columbia. (2019). https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/373/2019/03/Draft-Section-11-Bilateral-Conservation-Agreement-2019_03_08.pdf
Cox, S. (2019, June 20). B.C. government delays endangered caribou plan as herds dwindle. The Narwhal. https://thenarwhal.ca/bc-government-delays-endangered-caribou-plan-herds-dwindle/
Cox, S. (2019, April 19). B.C. stalls on promise to enact endangered species law. The Narwhal. https://thenarwhal.ca/b-c-stalls-on-promise-to-enact-endangered-species-law/
Cox, S. (2019, April 16). Caribou protection plan spawns racist backlash in northeast B.C. The Narwhal. https://thenarwhal.ca/caribou-protection-plan-spawns-racist-backlash-in-northeast-b-c/
Cox, S. ( 2019, March 21). Agreements mark ‘turning point’ for six B.C. caribou herds, but leave most herds hanging. The Narwhal. https://thenarwhal.ca/agreements-mark-turning-point-six-b-c-caribou-herds-leave-most-herds-hanging/
Cox., S. (2019, March 14, 2019). B.C. approves 314 new cutblocks in endangered caribou habitat over last five months. The Narwhal. https://thenarwhal.ca/b-c-approves-314-new-cutblocks-in-endangered-caribou-habitat-over-last-five-months/
Cox, S. (2019, January 18). ‘A sad day’: two more B.C. mountain caribou herds now locally extinct. The Narwhal. https://thenarwhal.ca/a-sad-day-two-more-b-c-mountain-caribou-herds-now-locally-extinct/
Cox, S. (2018, December 8). ‘We have left it too late’: scientists say some B.C. endangered species can’t be saved. The Narwhal. https://thenarwhal.ca/we-have-left-it-too-late-scientists-say-some-b-c-endangered-species-cant-be-saved/
Environment Canada. (2014). Recovery Strategy for the Woodland Caribou, Southern Mountain population (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. viii + 68 pp. https://www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=5837FBB5-1
Goward, T. (2008 - 2012). Twelve readings on the lichen thallus, I - XII. Evansia, 25-29. https://www.waysofenlichenment.net/ways/readings/index
Intergovernmental Partnership Agreement for the Conservation of the Central Group of the Southern Mountain Caribou. (2019, February 21). https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/373/2019/03/Caribou-Partnership-Agreement.pdf
Lekstrom, B. (2019). The Path Forward to Recover the Caribou Plan in Northern British Columbia. https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/373/2019/06/Premiers-Report.pdf
Matthews, H. (2019, June 7). What the debate around Indigenous genocide says about Canada. Macleans. https://www.macleans.ca/opinion/what-the-debate-around-indigenous-genocide-says-about-canada/
Randall, C. (2019, July 15). A small town’s economy. Endangered caribou. Which do we protect? The Gaurdian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/15/caribou-revelstoke-british-columbia
Semeniuk, I. (2018, September 14). Too expensive to save? Why the best way to protect endangered species could mean letting some go. The Globe and Mail. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-too-expensive-to-save-new-approach-to-protecting-endangered-species/
Spribille, T. et al. (2016, June 29). Basidiomycete yeasts in the cortex of ascomycete macrolichens. Science Vol. 353, Issue 6298, pp. 488-492. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/353/6298/488
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