Department of biology, chemistry and geography, UQAR
Des Ursulines Building
300 Allée des Ursulines
418.723.1986 extension 1867
Determination of respective impacts of mature forest loss and fragmentation on spatial ecology of large mammals
Globally, habitat loss and fragmentation are the biggest threat to biodiversity. These two factors are responsible for many recent extinctions in addition to being the main cause of the decline of several other species. Successfully separate the impacts of these two types of disturbances are essential since the effects of fragmentation may differ from those generated by habitat loss and therefore result in distinct responses by wildlife. Ultimately this research project will help guide, more efficiently, forest management approaches to promote or limit the expansion of different species of large mammals at study.
My research project is part of an extensive research program launched in 2003 that aims to better understand the consequences of anthropogenic development in general on the ecology of woodland caribou and propose tracks to mitigate cumulative impacts. More specifically, my project aims to determine the respective impacts of the loss and fragmentation of mature forest on the spatial ecology of large mammals. Using GPS data from 2004 to today, I will characterize the patterns of habitat selection of black bears, gray wolves, Eastern coyotes, moose and woodland caribou in a context of cumulative disturbances of mature boreal forest. Resource selection function (comparison between availability and resources use) obtained will allow me to establish the probability of occurrence and co-occurrence of these species in different levels of loss and fragmentation of habitat, in typical systems where these prey and predators coexist, i.e. the Gaspésie and Charlevoix. These probabilities will be used to assess the response of the five species along a gradient loss levels and a fragmentation levels gradient, which will be simulated in landscapes randomly selected in both study areas. This will allow me to separate the impacts of the loss of those of fragmentation and establish critical limits of disturbance levels. Ultimately this research will help guide more efficiently forest management approaches to promote or limit the growth of the different species of large mammals from this study.