Divergent Patterns of Understory Forage Growth After Seismic Line Exploration: Implications for Caribou Habitat Restoration

Laura Finnegan
Doug MacNearney
Karine Pigeon
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Despite decades of research assessing wildlife response to seismic lines, little is known about the effects of seismic line clearing on the quality of understory forage for wildlife, or about the resilience of boreal understory communities to seismic line clearing. Using field data collected from 351 seismic lines across west-central and north-western Alberta, Canada, and focusing on forage taxa preferred by moose and bears, we:

  1. investigated whether understory forage taxa composition differed among seismic lines, seismic line edges, and the interior forest, and
  2. assessed how this relationship changed as a function of seismic line attributes (ecosite, orientation, level of motorized human use, regeneration).

    In addition to help inform restoration efforts we:
  3. used these field data and GIS derived and remote sensing (LiDAR) data to model and map vegetation recovery (growth, structure, and composition) on seismic lines and along seismic line edges.