Evaluating the Impact of Caribou Habitat Restoration on Predator and Prey Movement

Melanie Dickie
Geoff Sherman
Glenn Sutherland
Robert McNay
Michael Cody
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In the paper 'Evaluating the impact of caribou habitat restoration on predator and prey movement', the authors evaluated movement responses of wolves, black bears, caribou, and moose on seismic lines treated with silvicultural techniques to reduce travel speeds – directly targeting one of the mechanisms in which these features are hypothesized to contribute to caribou declines. Linear feature restoration is identified as a key management tool to return caribou habitat to forest cover, but also to reduce predation on caribou by disrupting predator use of these features. Early results have shown mixed success of reducing predator and ungulate use of seismic lines, but little is known about how treatments impact travel speed. 

Through this work they found that wolves moved 23% slower on treated lines than untreated lines. Caribou and bears also moved slower, by about 40%. These findings suggest that habitat restoration treatments reduce predator and prey travel speeds along seismic lines, and may help reduce caribou predation by decreasing encounter rates. Of course, further monitoring is needed to understand if reduced use of, and movement rates on, seismic lines will translate into decreased encounter and predation rates of caribou.

To learn more about this work you can access the article by clicking on the resource link.

A graphical summary is also available by clicking here.