The Muskwa-Kechika Management Area (MKMA) is an area of 63,000 km2 (6.3 million hectares)lying in north-eastern British Columbia. This area of the Northern Rockies is one of NorthAmerica’s last remaining large wilderness areas south of the 60th parallel. The MKMA wasestablished through three Land and Resource Management Plans (LRMPs) for the Fort St. Johnand Fort Nelson areas in 1997 and Mackenzie LRMP in 2001.
The MK CAD is composed of 7 independent analytical components which provide a suite ofsurrogates for the ecological values and conditions of the study area. These surrogates includemodels to predict diversity across freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems, models of habitatsuitability for freshwater and terrestrial focal species, the collection of occurrences and habitatidentification for species of special concern (fine-filter analysis), models reflecting the extent andrelative intensity of human uses, and models predicting landscape permeability and connectivity.These components are developed as spatial vector models at 1:20,000 or as grid-based modelswith 50m cells; all are subsequently summarized into a common analytical framework forintegrating into the final Conservation Area Design. Regional distribution and resultingrepresentation of ecological values within the MK CAD is assured through the stratification ofanalyses by the seven major river systems of the study area. The fundamental unit of analysis forthe MK CAD is a 500-ha hexagon Planning Unit (PU).
The Conservation Area Design integrates the CAD analytical components to describe the studyarea according to the following classes:
1) Primary Core Areas -- areas necessary to represent a minimum of 30% of key conservationtargets, including focal species habitat values, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem diversity andselected fine-filters; and 60% core area for each terrestrial focal species.
2) Connectivity-Secondary Core Areas -- areas identified to provide linkages between PrimaryCore Areas and increase overall representation of conservation targets. These areas increase representation of conservation targets to a minimum of 60% for the key conservation targets usedfor Primary Core Area selection, and 30% minimum representation for all other mappedconservation targets.
3) Supplementary Sites – Sites with coarse-filter or fine-filter values not captured in Primary CoreAreas and Connectivity-Secondary Core Areas due to their small size and isolation, but needed tomeet representation goals for rare targets.