An ecosystem-based management approach for maintaining sandhill crane nesting habitat on northern Vancouver Island
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Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) migratory populations use wetland ecosystems on northern Vancouver Island for their breeding habitat. With wind energy development being proposed for the area, an ecosystem-based management approach is being used to maintain Sandhill Crane breeding habitat and biological diversity within the bog wetland complex of the Nahwitti Plateau at the northern tip of the island. Shelter, forage and nesting habitat suitability were identified and rated with a six-class scheme from April to October over a two-year period. Vegetation surveys and crane inventories were carried out in 2006 and 2007 to spatially map the structure and patterns of bog ecosystems used by migrating cranes. The highest-rated Sandhill Crane nesting habitat consisted of sedge and low shrub dominated blanket bog wetlands with vegetated mounds. Riparian features and bog forests were also determined to be important habitats for forage, shelter, and living habitat. Based on the analysis, three Wildlife Habitat Areas were proposed to maintain Sandhill Crane nesting habitat and connected ecological services that support ecosystem-based management objectives, including promoting human well-being.
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