A landscape evaluation of bison movements and distribution in northern Canada
LccQL737 .U53 M55 2002
LcshBison - Canada, Northern
Wood bison - Canada, Northern
Bison - Migration - Canada, Northern
Tuberculosis in animals
Brucellosis in animals
collaborative resource management
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AbstractBovine tuberculosis and brucellosis in free-ranging bison in the Greater Wood Buffalo National Park Ecosystem (GWBNPE) represent an increasing risk to conservation and recovery of disease-free free-ranging bison and to a rapidly expanding commercial bison industry. This research focused on bison movements and distribution in the region to provide models and maps for informing the development of disease risk management measures. Thirty-five people from communities in the GWBNPE provided local knowledge which indicated that bison rapidly establish trails along the most direct and practical route between favored habitat patches, prefer graminoid meadows, have an affinity for burned areas, and typically avoid muskeg, dense forest, and steep terrain. Bison were more widely distributed in the region than was previously understood. Movement patterns and water crossings were mapped from local knowledge sources. A summer habitat selection model was constructed with the variables 'greenness' (correlated with phytomass) and 'distance to water' based on radio collared bison locations in Wood Buffalo National Park (WBNP). The probability of summer bison habitat use increased with an increase in greenness and decreased with distance to water (odds ratios coefficient 1.0079 and 0.9997 respectively). The summer habitat model and terrain steepness were used to calculate least-cost movement pathways and potential movement corridors in northern Alberta. The highest density corridors paralleled the Peace River in the vicinity of Fort Vermilion with the broadest network of corridors between High Level and WBNP. A conclusion reached indicates that risk associated with the persistence of tuberculosis and brucellosis infected populations limits the opportunity for recovery of viable, ecologically meaningful populations that could contribute to the resource-based economies of surrounding communities. A collaborative process is needed to develop a plan that will resolve the issue, in which the interests of wildlife conservation, local communities, the livestock industry, and government agencies are fairly represented.
Bibliography: p. 116-127.