Verso Paper to Sponsor NCASI Research Study on Woodland Caribou Populations in Canada
MEMPHIS, Tenn., April 4, 2008 – Verso Paper (Verso Paper Holdings LLC) today announced that it will be a financial sponsor of a multi-year study by the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI) to evaluate the role of nutrition on caribou populations in Canada. Researchers will examine habitat influences that affect summer and winter food availability and, based on their findings, will develop forest management and decision-support tools to help wildlife biologists and planners identify ways that forest management practices might be used to help sustain woodland caribou populations. In addition to providing financial support, Verso also will actively monitor the study through its participation on NCASI’s Caribou Advisory Committee.
“Verso is proud to sponsor this important research,” said Verso Vice President for Sustainability Craig Liska. “The scientific literature describing the effects of habitat on woodland caribou populations in Canada is remarkably underdeveloped. Increasing the depth and breadth of scientific data on the role of habitat in sustaining caribou populations will not only help improve conservation programs, but will also elevate our ability to forecast woodland caribou responses to future threats from changes in climate, ecosystems and disturbances like wildfire,” he said.
In Canada, woodland caribou populations have disappeared from southern ranges and are declining in other areas. Four caribou populations are listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada under the Federal Species at Risk Act. Field research indicates that past declines resulted from complex interactions among disturbances like wildfire, predator-prey relationships and habitat change, but there has been little research to provide insight into how habitat change directly affects caribou nutrition and survival. For example, the relationship between caribou and their predators may be influenced by habitat and the nutritional value of caribou food supply.