Distribution and movements of woodland caribou on disturbed landscapes in west-central Manitoba : implications for forestry

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Lander, Carrie-Anne
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Forest operations have been implicated in adversely impacting woodland caribou populations. In order to improve on existing forestry mitigation plans on caribou ranges, the distribution and movements of the Kississing-Naosap herd on disturbed landscapes in west-central Manitoba was examined across a variety of scales. The results indicate a hierarchical pattern of selection by woodland caribou, with seasonal differences. Caribou avoided disturbance across all scales, and selected for mature coniferous habitat types. At a finer scale they selected for summer paths with greater arboreal lichen cover and winter paths with greater visibility. Caribou also selected areas further into cover, away from forest edges. Based on these results, I recommend that leave areas within operating areas be composed of a mosaic of mature jack pine, treed muskeg, and spruce cover types, and at least 1 km in width. I also recommend harvesting larger blocks, obliterating roads post-harvest, and encouraging the regeneration of coniferous stands.