Caribou conservation through better cutblock design

Caribou conservation through better cutblock design

Declines of woodland caribou are linked to human-caused landscape changes that convert mature forests to early seral stands. Early seral stands provide abundant forage that support high populations of primary prey (e.g., deer, moose, and elk). More primary prey within caribou ranges in turn leads to more predators (e.g., wolves). Our objectives are: 1) Determine how timber harvesting regimes and silviculture practices could make cutblocks less favourable for primary prey and 2) Provide land-use managers with information that can be used to reduce the impacts of timber harvesting on caribou by creating cutblocks less favourable to primary prey. We have deployed cameras in cutblocks stratified by age and ecosite. Camera locations are baited with a lube containing O'Gorman's Long Distance Call. We will use data collected to examine primary prey use of cutblocks as a function of cutblock attributes (e.g., site prep, planting, and tending) in west-central Alberta. The results of this project can be used by forestry planners to benefit caribou recovery by informing best silviculture practices within caribou ranges

Project Leads: Laura Finnegan

Affiliations: fRI Research

Focal Species: Black Bear; Canada Lynx; Caribou; Cougar; Coyote; Elk; Grey Wolf; Grizzly Bear; Moose; Mule Deer; White-Tailed Deer