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Determining Factors Affecting Moose Population Change in British Columbia: TESTING The Landscape Change Hypothesis 2018 Progress Report: February 2012-April 2018 G. Kuzyk
2018
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Abstract: In 2013, the BC government initiated a research project to determine the factors affecting Moose population change in central BC by testing the landscape change hypothesis proposed by Kuzyk and Heard (2014). This report provides some preliminary results and some interpretation of the data collected from February 2012 to April 2018. This technical report was preceded by three annual reports: Kuzyk et al. (2015, 2016, 2017). This project was initiated because Moose numbers in central British Columbia (BC) had declined since the early 2000s, causing concern with First Nations and stakeholders. Much of the decline happened concurrently with a Mountain Pine Beetle outbreak that killed a large proportion of mature pine trees and resulted in increased salvage logging and road building. In response to the Moose decline, a 5-year provincially-coordinated Moose research project was initiated by the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) [as of 2017, the Ministry name changed to Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD)]. In February 2012, a Moose study with similar objectives began on the Bonaparte Plateau and was integrated with this project. The primary research objective of this project is to evaluate a landscape change hypothesis, which states that Moose declines coincided with a mountain pine beetle (MPB) outbreak where habitat changes and increased salvage logging and road building resulted in greater vulnerability to Moose from hunters, predators, nutritional constraints, age/health and environmental conditions. It assumes Moose survival will increase when: a) forest cutblocks regenerate to the point where vegetation obstructs the view of predators and hunters; b) resource roads created for logging are rendered impassable; and c) Moose become more uniformly dispersed on the landscape. We evaluated that hypothesis by identifying causes and rates of cow Moose mortality, and examining factors that contributed to their vulnerability. To assess the causes and rates of calf mortality, an important research gap previously identified at the outset of this project, Moose calves were collared in Bonaparte and Prince George South in the winters of 2016/17 and 2017/18. This progress report provides data and a preliminary interpretation of the results from 28 February 2012 to 30 April 2018 from five study areas in central BC: Bonaparte; Big Creek; Entiako; Prince George South; and the John Prince Research Forest.
 
G. Kuzyk, S. Marshall, C. Procter, H. Schindler, H. Schwantje, M. Gillingham, D. Hodder, S. White, and M. Mumma. 2018. Determining Factors Affecting Moose Population Change in British Columbia: TESTING The Landscape Change Hypothesis 2018 Progress Report: February 2012-April 2018. Province of B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Wildlife Working Report. WR-126
 
Topic: Conservation + Mgmt (Wildlife, Fish, Plant)
Keywords: 
ISSN:  Scientific Name: Alces alces
ISBN:  English Name: Moose
Other Identifier: 
 
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