Moose (Alces alces) are emerging as a keystone species in the Lake Revelstoke Valley. At average winter densities of 1.58/km2, with some valleys as high as 3.54/km2 (Poole and Serrouya 2003), moose are having profound effects on this wet-belt ecosystem. At higher trophic levels, they are providing an abundant source of biomass for at least 5 predators (wolves [Canis lupus], cougars [Felis concolor], wolverine [Gulo gulo], black and grizzly bears [Ursus americanus and U. Arctos). They are also substantially affecting lower trophic levels, as evidenced by damage to cedar plantations and some forage species (D?Eon et al. 2003). High moose densities may have significant implications for mountain caribou (Rangifer tarandus) because moose are likely supporting more predators, which incidentally feed on mountain caribou, even as mountain caribou decline (Seip 1992, Wittmer 2004). The Ministry of Water, Land, and Air Protection has decided to increase moose hunting permits by a factor of 5 (from pre-2003 levels), with the goals of increasing hunting opportunities, mitigating vegetation damage, and relieving some of the apparent competition with mountain caribou. However, if moose are reduced too quickly and without appropriate predator management, mountain caribou are at high risk of increased incidental predation because of higher predator search times. Therefore, closely monitoring moose populations as the harvest is increased is a critical component of caribou conservation. Such monitoring also forms a critical link in the adaptive management cycle, i.e. to measure the effects of a perturbation ? the perturbation has been initiated with the increased moose harvest, and monitoring is the next key step (Walters 1986, Taylor et al. 1997). Thus, management practices can be altered with new information, thereby completing the adaptive management cycle. The goal of this project was to resample existing pellet plots to obtain an estimate of the relative change in the moose population.
by Robert Serrouya.
Serrouya, Robert. 2005. Monitoring moose populations in the Lake Revelstoke Valley in the context of mountain caribou conservation: 2004 progress report. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2005MR229