Mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus) populations are known to withstand only low rates of adult mortality because of their relatively poor reproductive potential. This has led goats in general, to be most successful in areas that offer conditions with ready access to escape terrain. While such conditions can occur along riverside cliffs, it most often occurs at high-elevation, rocky mountaintops. Despite this apparent need for escape from predators, goats do seek forested ecosystems at lower elevations either for foraging during winter in coastal climates or for licking minerals from exposed soils during summer in interior climates. The amount of time spent by goats in low-elevation forests was held to be rather insignificant until recent studies. Use of mineral licks at valley bottoms is now reported more frequently and our own studies have shown goats use licks at valley bottom throughout summer. Furthermore, access to these licks from high-elevation escape terrain appears to be along trails that are traditionally used by goats. Because of the apparent static nature of this resource use by goats, forest development, other industrial development, and the subsequent increase in human activity that usually follows development, is regarded by many as having detrimental impact on goat populations through:
(1) displacement of goats from mineral licks or by complete elimination of access trails;
(2) increase in access by hunters to previously unhunted populations; and
(3) increased predation risk along trails by enhancing adjacent predator populations.
The purpose of the proposed work on effectiveness monitoring of mountain goat habitat management has the general goal of improving integrated management and the indirect specific goal of advancing the use of habitat supply modeling. We propose to manifest this general goal by way of developing criteria and indicators for sustainability (i.e., thresholds of impact that could be used in monitoring plans) and in refinements to interim management recommendations (e.g., best management practices for the management of mineral licks and trails).
R. Scott McNay.
McNay, R. Scott. 2006. Using habitat supply modeling to establish an effectiveness monitoring plan for mountain goats in north-central BC. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2006MR309