Efficient Monitoring of Wildlife Responses to Seismic Line Restoration in the Algar Habitat Restoration Program

Cole Burton
Christopher Beirne
Catherine Sun
Erin Tattersall
Joanna Burgar
Jason Fisher
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This project has clearly demonstrated the utility of camera trap surveys for monitoring
restoration effectiveness in boreal environments. The cameras facilitated the collection of longitudinal data on the effects of seismic line restoration on wildlife behaviour and community composition, plant phenology and productivity, and the links between them. We found some evidence for positive outcomes emerging from the Algar restoration program, including trends towards reductions in predator activity and abundance. However, our results highlight that predators and other species continue to heavily use restored and unrestored lines in this landscape, and that the short-term responses to restoration are likely insufficient to drive rapid recovery of caribou. We recommend that future efforts carefully consider these results and attempt more aggressive methods for linear restoration (e.g. line blocking), alongside other recovery measures (such as wolf control), and rigorously evaluate the outcomes within an adaptive management framework (see section 10 for detailed recommendations). The relatively weak short-term effects observed in Algar highlight the need for long-term monitoring of wildlife and vegetation responses to restoration efforts, and for landscape-scale comparisons between
different restoration techniques and environmental contexts.