|Foothills Research Institute
Object & Deliverables
The proposal objectives were to enhance management of Alberta’s forests for the conservation of woodland caribou. The project would investigate whether specific timber harvesting regimes and silviculture practices can be applied to make cutblocks less attractive to primary prey species (i.e. reduce forage abundance for deer, moose and elk). Reduction in the occurrence and abundance of primary prey could reduce predation risk for caribou in west-central Alberta, as decreased numbers of primary prey would sustain lower numbers of predators in caribou ranges. In addition, identifying what timber harvesting regimes and silviculture practices are most attractive to primary prey species could help inform habitat restoration priorities.
Proposed activities were to include:
- Capture and collar 20 mule deer and 20 white-tailed deer in areas with current or historic forestry activity. Fit deer with GPS collars to track habitat use in relation to regenerating cutblocks.
- Establish a strategic grid of 60 remote cameras to monitor deer, moose and elk use of cutblocks over 30 years and within 500 cutblocks.
- Examine how deer, moose and elk use cutblocks as a function of cutblock attributes, landscape-level forest structure and ecological conditions, utilizing data from GPS collars and remote cameras.
- Identify and map cutblocks associated with a high probability of use by primary prey species within the study area.
- Communicate project results with government, industry, academia, and the general public through presentations at technical meetings, academic conferences, information sessions with forest practitioners, and publication of results in a peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal.
The final report was submitted June 10, 2021 byt fRI Research. Team was led by Tracy McKay, Leonie Brown, Cameron McClelland and Laura Finnegan.