Beautiful path in a forest during a vibrant summer day. Taken in Raft Cove Provincial Park, Northern Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

21. Marbled Murrelet Nesting Habitat

The Marbled Murrelet is a threatened sea bird that nests in coastal old growth forests. Its populations have been in steady decline for many years. The federal government’s scientific advisory body, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), lists this species as imperilled due to loss of nesting habitat.

This map shows areas that have the age, stand structure and aspect to be potential nesting habitat.

A few of these areas have been designated as Wildlife Habitat Areas (WHAs), mostly in the Brittain and Howe landscape units (thanks to the SCCA for that).

The decline of Marbled Murrelet (MaMu) populations is a consequence of poor forestry management and excessive exploitation.

Protection of nesting habitat is needed to conserve the species and contribute to badly needed biodiversity protection.


In December 2021, an Order to achieve minimum thresholds for habitat retention was finally established by the BC Government. 

In the SCNRD, of the total 34,234 ha of ancient forest determined to be suitable nesting habitat, the 25,732 hectares was set for protection. Broken down into landscape units, this is: Sechelt (3,347ha), Homathko (5,670ha), Jervis (6,502ha), Powell (2,731ha), Bute (7,482ha).

The provincial government must now ensure that no less than 25,732 hectares of ancient forest is conserved Marbled Murrelet Wildlife Habitat Areas

There is a dedicated section on our website about Old Growth and the Marbled Murrelet where you can learn more about what we have done to protect Old Growth forests and Marbled Murrelet habitat.

Marbled Murrelet. Photo by Carl Olsen.
Marbled Murrelet. Photo by Carl Olsen.

Click the blue box above to view a list of pages in this section of the website.

Glossary of Terms

Biomass: refers to the total amount of organic matter (i.e., anything that comes from plants and animals). 

Biogeoclimatic (BEC) Zone: the classification system used to identify an area based on the dominant type of vegetation, climate, and soil characteristics at its climax 

Climax Old-Growth: the final stage of a forest stand when left undisturbed by humans 

Biogeoclimatic Zone Abbreviations

  • AT: Alpine Tundra
  • BG: Bunchgrass
  • BWBS: Boreal White and Black Spruce
  • CDF: Coastal Douglas-Fir
  • CWH: Coastal Western Hemlock
  • ESSF: Engelmann Spruce - Subalpine Fir
  • ICH: Interior Cedar - Hemlock
  • IDF: Interior Douglas-Fir
  • MH: Mountain Hemlock
  • MS: Montane Spruce
  • PP: Ponderosa Pine
  • SBPS: Sub-Boreal Pine - Spruce
  • SBS: Sub-Boreal Spruce
  • SWB: Spruce - Willow - Birch

Landscape Units of the SCNRD

  • Bishop
  • Brem
  • Brittain
  • Bunster
  • Bute East
  • Bute West
  • Chapman
  • Cortes
  • Haslam
  • Homathko
  • Homfray
  • Howe
  • Jervis
  • Lois
  • Narrows
  • Quatam

Biogeoclimatic Subzone Codes

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