The management of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and their habitat is a high profile conservation issue in British Columbia. Intense public concern regarding B.C.?s grizzly management practices occurs at the international, national, provincial and local level. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada nationally lists grizzly bears as a species of special concern. In B.C., grizzly bears are a blue-listed species (vulnerable). The B.C. Forest Practices Code requires that the needs of red and blue listed species be addressed during forest management activities. Many important land use decisions in B.C. have been strongly influenced by concerns regarding grizzly bear conservation, and all of the Land and Resource Management Plans (LRMP?s) within the Prince George Forest Region have identified grizzly bear conservation as a major land management concern. Forest companies that have, or are trying to obtain 3rd party environmental certification for their products, must implement acceptable practices to protect threatened and endangered species within their operating area. Consequently, there is a great need for reliable information on the habitat requirements of grizzly bears to facilitate improved forest and land management practices in B.C. There have been several grizzly bear research projects in B.C. but these studies have focused on coastal forests or the south-eastern portion of the province. Little research has been done on habitat use by grizzly bears in the central and northern portions of the province. Also, the recent development of a variety of new research and inventory tools, including DNA population census grids, Global Positioning Systems radio-collars, and Geographic Information Systems are now being used for advanced analysis techniques such as resource selection functions (RSFs) (Manly et al. 1993). These new research and analysis techniques provide an opportunity to greatly enhance our understanding of grizzly bear habitat use. The location of the Parsnip Grizzly Bear Project (PGBP) provided a number of unique opportunities to better understand grizzly bear habitat requirements: i) the study area ranged from wilderness mountain habitat to plateau habitat that had extensive road access and forest harvesting activities. Prior to this study, little was known about the habitat use of grizzlies on the sub-boreal plateau. ii) the area was in the Arctic watershed so the bears did not have access to salmon. iii) the area occurred in a bottleneck of the Rocky Mountains (Hart Ranges) and may be important in providing connectivity between the southern and northern Rocky Mountains. The purpose of this project was to improve our understanding of grizzly bear habitat use and examine the impact of forest harvesting in an area where little previous information was available. In particular we were interested in grizzly habitat use in the Sub-boreal Spruce (SBS) biogeoclimatic zone on the interior plateau. This information will help land managers in government and forest industry develop land use practices that are compatible with the conservation of grizzly bears and their habitat. This report summarizes the research results for 2002, which is the fifth year (1998-2002), and provides data set summaries for all years.
Ciarniello, Lana M., Seip, Dale R.; Heard, Douglas C.. 2003. Parsnip grizzly bear population and habitat project: summary data sets, 1998 to 2002, including habitat use and availability. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2003MR068