How Woodland Caribou use Post-fire Landscapes in Northeastern Alberta

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To examine the effects of forest fires on woodland caribou, we collected GPS location data on five caribou ranges in northeastern Alberta. We used high-resolution imagery to map wild fires that have burned in the past 40 years. Using caribou locations and updated mapping we assessed fine-scale habitat selection using an Integrated Step Selection Analysis to examine whether caribou were selecting or avoiding burned areas within their home range. Preliminary habitat selection results suggest that caribou are avoiding burned landscapes, including both the burn complex and these residual patches. This avoidance can persist for up to 30 years post-fire, presumably until the forest is old enough to support lichen.