Webinar - Forecasting Climate-sensitive Landscape Change Reveals Habitat Shifts and Population Uncertainty for Northern Boreal Caribou

Frances Stewart
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Climate-induced northern forest change may be severe, altering resources for boreal caribou. Mitigating the conservation challenges associated with caribou could be dampened through forecasts of future habitat conditions based on climate-sensitive processes, and linked to models of wildlife habitat suitability and population change. Using SpaDES – a novel ecological forecasting framework – we forecast habitat and population parameters for five boreal woodland caribou monitoring areas across 90 years of climate-driven landscape change in the Northwest Territories. Our forecasts suggest habitat suitability may increase in certain areas, but that population growth rates may remain the same. These results provide anticipated population changes, and an adaptable framework, to aid caribou recovery planning within the rapidly shifting context of northern landscape change.