Hugely good conservation news yesterday from British Columbia, where officials agreed to put 400,000 hectares (almost 1 million acres) of forest under wilderness-quality protection. The move is largely to protect mountain caribou, whose range has dwindled substantially (see maps here).

Mountain caribou populations have been declining for decades in North America so that they now maintain only a toehold presence in the continental U.S. (in northeast Washington and northern Idaho, seasonally). Their numbers are also diminished even in BC, which is considered their last stronghold. The reason is partly because logging in BC’s interior has been very destructive to habitat—you can see Sightline’s animated maps here and here. The new protected areas, which are integrated into an additional 2.2 million hectares (5.4 million acres) of managed caribou habitat, will be hugely important for rehabilitating their populations.

More info is available in an advocates’ press release here.