Mountain caribou are considered endangered by COSEWIC and the Species at Risk Act has highlighted the need for integrating caribou habitat needs with forest management. Due to the enormous implication of mountain caribou conservation, considerable research has documented habitats needed for winter foraging and ways to maintain this habitat using partial-cutting silvicultural systems, however, conditions needed for connectivity both within home ranges and among populations remains unknown. As well, predation appears to be a dominant source of mortality of mountain caribou. It has been suggested that the increase in predation is linked to an increase in predator numbers due to an increase in alternative prey, which, in turn is caused by a more fragmented landscape of young and old forests, plus, improved predator hunting efficiency due to the road network. This project has 4 main objectives: 1) test if young forests block movement of mountain caribou. If these forests do block caribou movements, then we will determine if young forests can be managed through silvicultural practices such as thinning, pruning, or uneven planting, to encourage caribou movement. We will also document attributes of young stands that provide foraging opportunities. 2) determine if the apparent discrete populations act as a meta-population with animals dispersing among the populations and determine how the level of inter-population movement affects population viability. We will test factors that influence population fragmentation. 3) investigate the foraging efficiency of predators (wolves) on landscapes of various levels of fragmentation and identify factors effecting kill success, and to document changes in predator functional and numerical response to changes in moose abundance (due to increases in hunting pressure) and, if there are changes in these responses, determine if there are changes in predation rates on caribou. 4) work closely with land-use planners and operational foresters to implement what has been learned about caribou ecology.
Bruce McLellan...[et al.]
McLellan, Bruce N., Serrouya, Robert; Apps, Clayton D.; Furk, Kelsey; Wittmer, Heiko Uwe; Stotyn, Shannon A.; McFarlane, Keri; Lewis, Douglas W.. 2005. Quantifying forest stand and landscape attributes that influence mountain caribou habitat fragmentation and predation rates. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
Keywords: Forest, Investment, Account, (FIA), Mountain, caribou, Population
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