Can natural disturbance-based forestry rescue a declining population of grizzly bears?

Nielsen, Scott E., Stenhouse, Gordon B., Beyer, Hawthorne L., Huettmann, Falk and Boyce, Mark S. (2008) Can natural disturbance-based forestry rescue a declining population of grizzly bears?. Biological Conservation, 141 9: 2193-2207. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2008.06.020


Author Nielsen, Scott E.
Stenhouse, Gordon B.
Beyer, Hawthorne L.
Huettmann, Falk
Boyce, Mark S.
Title Can natural disturbance-based forestry rescue a declining population of grizzly bears?
Journal name Biological Conservation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-3207
1873-2917
Publication date 2008-09-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2008.06.020
Volume 141
Issue 9
Start page 2193
End page 2207
Total pages 15
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Forest managers are increasingly considering historic patterns of natural forest disturbance as a model for forest harvesting and as a coarse-filter ecosystem management tool. We evaluated the long-term (100-year) persistence of a grizzly bear population in Alberta, Canada using forest simulations and habitat modelling. Even with harvesting the same volume of timber, natural disturbance-based forestry resulted in a larger human footprint than traditional two-pass forestry with road densities reaching 1.39 km/km2 or more than three times baseline conditions and suggested maximum levels of security for grizzly bears. Because bears favour young forests and edges where food resources are plentiful, a future shift to young forests and more edge habitat resulted in a 20% projected increase in habitat quality and a 10% projected increase in potential carrying capacity. Human-caused mortality risk, however, offset any projected gains in habitat and carrying capacity resulting in the loss of all secure, unprotected territories, regardless of forest harvest method, within the first 20-30 years of simulation. We suggest that natural disturbance-based forestry is an ill-suited management tool for sustaining declining populations of grizzly bears. A management model that explicitly considers road access is more likely to improve grizzly bear population persistence than changing the size of clear-cuts. In fact, large clear cuts might be counter productive for bears since a diversity of habitats within each bear's home range is more likely to buffer against future uncertainties.
Keyword Habitat
Persistence
Population viability
Ursus arctos
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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Created: Sat, 31 May 2014, 02:28:17 EST by Hawthorne Beyer on behalf of School of Biological Sciences