Be Part of the EBM Conversation

By Dr. John Wilmshurst   When Ed Grumbine published his paper “What is Ecosystem Based Management?” in 1994, he was not introducing a new idea, but describing a concept that had been discussed, and used, for centuries. This month, the Healthy Landscapes Program is contributing to that discussion by launching a new website, HealthyLandscapesEBM. In it, the HLP hopes to show that ecosystem based management (EBM) in the boreal forest is more than just talk.…

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Grizzly Bear Habitat Time Series

By Dan Wismer Alberta’s landscape is far from static, as each year natural and human disturbance changes characteristics in land and canopy cover. New wildfire events, road construction, forest harvesting and oil and gas activities open areas and reset the vegetation age, while older disturbed areas regenerate back to natural conditions. These constant changes play a major role in habitat quality, mortality risk and the overall habitat states of grizzly bears. % canopy cover captures…

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AOL: Animals On-Line

Dr. Lucy Poley has started a research project mining a trove of wildlife photos that the Caribou Program has been collecting since 2013. The pictures are all snapped automatically by hundreds of trail cameras spread out on seismic lines. Poley, a post doc at the University of Calgary, is trying to find out which species match up with different kinds of seismic lines. In order to drive seismic equipment for oil and gas exploration through…

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Picking Up What They Are Dropping Down: What We Can Learn from Grizzly Bear Scat

By Isobel Phoebus Have you ever come across some animal poop (i.e. scat) out in the wild and thought, “I wonder who that came from?” Well, it’s been a bit of a bumpy road, but now scientists can often find out. Not only can we tell who it came from, but when we start systematically collecting scat samples found all over a given area, we can estimate the population size of a particular species! Over…

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Habitat States Now Supports Harvest Sequence Input

By Dan Wismer Our grizzly bear tools (GBTools) developed by the fRI Research Grizzly Bear and GIS Programs can be used to analyze grizzly bear habitat changes related to forest conditions, and inform decision-making in support of grizzly bear conservation.   The objective of GBTools are to: Update habitat maps in order to maintain their currency in a changing landscape To forecast the effect of a development scenario on habitat quality, habitat states, and mortality…

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Our Summer of Fieldwork

By Solène Williams and Isaiah Huska In the early spring of 2019, after becoming accustomed to the vast expanses of agricultural fields and grasslands driving through Manitoba and Saskatchewan, our eyes became fixed on the long-awaited mountains of Jasper National Park from our new home of Hinton, Alberta. We had left our respective Ontario homes three days earlier, after nervously stuffing our cars with field and camping gear, fishing equipment, and whatever else we might…

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White-Tailed in West-Central

2019 was our first year of monitoring white tailed deer among the forest harvest blocks of west-central Alberta. We’re interested because species of deer are important pieces to the caribou conservation puzzle. In general, what’s good for deer is bad for caribou. Their habitat needs are pretty different and having a lot of extra deer hanging around in caribou ranges invites predators. Essentially, when an area becomes deer-friendly, there goes the neighbourhood. We got a…

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Muddy Waters

Ben Williamson The day suddenly cools and the wind rises and the first hard drops spatter on the nearby mountains, on the willow leaves, on the road, leaving little dark pits in the dust. The tempo of the afternoon rain builds and soon the potholes fill and spill along the road, tumbling particles of sand and silt into the ditch. There they add themselves to the gathering stream. They accelerate downward, scouring the dirt, accumulating.…

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Caribou Habitat Disturbance Tool

By Dan Wismer, GIS Analyst footprint.png Caption: The disturbance footprint in the Little Smoky caribou range. Habitat disturbance and increased predation are the main threats to woodland caribou. Habitat disturbance includes forest harvesting, oil and gas activity, mineral extraction and convoluted seismic line & road networks. Young forest created by habitat disturbance attracts species such as moose and deer, which in turn increases the number of predators like wolves in caribou ranges, increasing predation rates of…

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Looking Back on Twenty years of HLP Quicknotes

HLP_2017_09_dave-andison-portrait.jpg By Dave Andison The Healthy Landscapes Program (HLP) just published Quicknote #50. The milestone made me a bit nostalgic, and Terri thought it might be an opportunity to reflect on how the HLP changed since the first one came out. Back in the spring of 2000 – exactly 20 years ago – fRI Research was still in Phase I of the Foothills Model Forest, the HLP was known as the Natural Disturbance Program (NDP),…

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