Project Code: OF-02-015
Program: FRIP
Area:Applied Research
Sponsor:Foothills Model Forest
Project Status:Complete

The primary purpose of this multi-year project was to improve the understanding of how grizzly bears use forested landscapes along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. In 1999, the Foothills Model Forest (FMF) initiated an international, co-operative, multidisciplinary grizzly bear research program. The primary goal of the six-year program was to provide knowledge and planning tools to land and resource managers to ensure the long-term conservation of grizzly bears in Alberta. An important outcome of this program was the development of tools and techniques that address landscape level conservation issues, a critical component for the successful management of grizzly bear populations throughout Alberta and North America.

The first phase of the FMF Grizzly Bear Project took place between 1999-2003. It resulted in significant findings for both land and wildlife management, and the creation of important new management tools.

In the second phase of the FMF Grizzly Bear Project, researchers pursued two primary objectives: to provide grizzly bear habitat maps, probability of grizzly bear occurrence maps, and bear travel corridor maps for grizzly bear populations units in Alberta and to increase understanding of grizzly bear health, specifically body condition and reproductive health parameters, as they relate to landscape and environmental parameters. Specific objectives included building upon and extending the remote sensing habitat work; preparing maps showing probability of grizzly bear occurrence and potential movement corridors; collecting a data set of grizzly bear habitat use and movement patterns; collecting animal health data; and transferring this information & tools to land and resource managers. The funding of this project covered the data collection, analyses, and report of findings for several sub-projects during 2004/05.

Study results for the five-year period [including 2004 data collection] are contained in the report entitled “The Foothills Model Forest Grizzly Bear Research Program 1999-2003 Final Report”, prepared and edited by Gordon B. Stenhouse and Karen Graham, March 2005. The report is divided into chapters that provide the technical detail of the findings for each research component.