Conservation Framework Tools

Two tools form the basis of the Conservation Framework: the prioritization tool and the action sorting tool. These tools use the best available data from provincial and international databases to assess species and ecosystems for conservation action – the B.C. Conservation Data Centre is an example of a provincial data source.

Using these tools, the Conservation Framework provides guidance on the priority in which species and ecosystems should be addressed and the conservation actions needed.

Prioritization

This tool ranks B.C. species and ecosystems of conservation concern for management action, based on five clearly defined criteria:

  • Global and provincial status
  • Trends
  • Threats
  • Stewardship responsibility
  • Feasibility of recovery

Each species or ecosystem is ranked according to three specific goals in the framework. The ranking scale used is: 1 (highest) through 6 (lowest).

Action Sorting

Using the action sorting tool, high-ranking species and ecosystems are assigned appropriate management actions (see table below). This approach fosters a transparent decision-making process that makes it possible to align and share conservation efforts or resources across sectors.

Conservation Action Description
Assessing
Review status rank Latest trend and threat information may not be incorporated: return to CDC (S-ranks and estimated G ranks) or NatureServe (G-ranks) for re-evaluation.
Compile status report Compile or update a status report. May require research on threats, trends, habitat use, life history or demography.
Inventory Inventory the species or ecological community to confirm or determine status rank. May require research on inventory techniques.
Monitor trends Monitor the species, its habitat, or the ecological community at an interval appropriate to the life history of the organism, or the successional development of the ecological community. May require research on monitoring techniques.
Review taxonomy and classification Invest in taxonomic studies to determine taxonomic validity for species or invest in classification and correlation of newly identified ecological communities.

Planning & Listing

Planning

Includes preparing a Management Plan or Recovery Strategy and Action Plan, landscape planning, or updating an existing plan; also includes implementing and monitoring effectiveness of the plan and monitoring the effect on the species' population or habitat or an ecological community. May require research on threats, habitat use, mitigation or recovery techniques.
Send to COSEWIC* Send to COSEWIC for assessment as a first step to listing under the federal Species at Risk Act as Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened, or Special Concern or for assessment at a higher or lower risk category.
List under Wildlife Act* List under Wildlife Act as an Extirpated, Endangered or Threatened species. Includes describing residences as per the provisions of the act where warranted.
Acting  
Ecosystem and habitat protection Use legislation, policies and guidelines to protect the ecological community or species’ habitat. For example, Forest & Range Practices Act, protected areas, land use orders, stewardship, and best management practices. For species, may require research on habitat needs or inventory to determine suitable areas for protection.
Ecosystem and habitat restoration Apply management and/or restoration techniques to maintain or restore the ecological community or species’ habitat. Includes invasive species control, maintaining or restoring natural processes and key structures, fire suppression and prescribed burning.
Private land stewardship This group contains a subset of ecosystems and species from the ecosystem and habitat protection and restoration action groups that are of conservation concern but occur on private land and /or in situations outside the scope of more traditional legislation, policies, and formal guidelines.
Species and population management* Assign to appropriate management tools to address non-habitat threats. For example, captive breeding, translocation, disease management, alien predator or competitor control, public education. May require research and monitoring.
Review resource use Adjust harvest levels and/or increase penalties and enforcement for species. Work in collaboration with resource ministries and land managers to review existing tenures (water use, forestry, grazing, mining etc.) and determine where existing tenures are contributing to declines for ecological communities.
No new action Existing management is effective; no additional conservation action is warranted. Assess whether ongoing programs need to be maintained. May require effectiveness evaluation of existing activities and monitoring of the species, habitat, or ecological community.

Note: Items marked with an asterisk (*) indicate actions that are only applicable to species.

Sample

The Mountain Goat ranks as a priority 1 under goal 2 (“preventing species from becoming at risk”) for two reasons:

  1. Declining population in B.C.
  2. The species’ high feasibility of recovery

Actions for the Mountain Goat include: trend monitoring, initiating a management plan, habitat protection and population management (access management, helicopter disturbance guidelines, reintroductions and augmentations), and adjusting hunting levels.