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  • Library: Permanent loss of forests to logging roads

    Evergreen Alliance Staff
    As Canada wrestles with meeting its commitment under the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C, forest management has emerged as a complex aspect of the national carbon profile. This study makes an important contribution to this discussion by estimating the ongoing and legacy impacts of roads and roadside footprints from industrial logging for a large region of the boreal forest in Ontario.
    (2019) Logging Scars Project Executive Summary.pdf

    Evergreen Alliance Staff
    By Garth Mowat et al
    During the summer of 2015, we surveyed grizzly bears in the Kettle-Granby grizzly bear population unit (GBPU) to help assess population status and map the distribution of bears within the unit. Our first objective was to estimate the current population abundance and density of grizzly bears and map their summer distribution.
    Our second objective was to investigate whether landscape conditions such as habitat quality and road density were related to bear abundance. Based on our results, we provide recommendations for improving the viability of the grizzly bear population in the Kettle-Granby GBPU.
    (2017) The Relationships among Road Density, Habitat Quality, and Grizzly Bear Population Density in the Kettle-Granby Area of British Columbia.pdf

    Evergreen Alliance Staff
    By Clayton T. Lamb et al
    Human activities have dramatic effects on the distribution and abundance of wild- life. Increased road densities and human presence in wilderness areas have elevated human-caused mortality of grizzly bears and reduced bears’ use. Management agencies frequently attempt to reduce human-caused mortality by managing road density and thus human access, but the effectiveness of these actions is rarely assessed.
    We combined systematic, DNA-based mark–recapture techniques with spatially explicit capture–recapture models to estimate population size of a threatened grizzly bear population (Kettle–Granby), following management actions to recover this population. We tested the effects of habitat and road density on grizzly bear population density. We tested both a linear and threshold-based road density metric and investigated the effect of current access management (closing roads to the public).
    We documented an c. 50% increase in bear density since 1997 suggesting in- creased landscape and species conservation from management agencies played a significant role in that increase. However, bear density was lower where road densities exceeded 0.6 km/km2 and higher where motorized vehicle access had been restricted. The highest bear densities were in areas with large tracts of few or no roads and high habitat quality. Access management bolstered bear density in small areas by 27%.
    4. Synthesis and applications. Our spatially explicit capture–recapture analysis demonstrates that population recovery is possible in a multi-use landscape when management actions target priority areas. We suggest that road density is a useful surrogate for the negative effects of human land use on grizzly bear populations, but spatial configuration of roads must still be considered. Reducing roads will increase grizzly bear density, but restricting vehicle access can also achieve this goal. We demonstrate that a policy target of reducing human access by managing road density below 0.6 km/km2, while ensuring areas of high habitat quality have no roads, is a reasonable compromise between the need for road access and population recovery goals. Targeting closures to areas of highest habitat quality would benefit grizzly bear population recovery the most.
    (2017) Effects of habitat quality and access management on the density of a recovering grizzly bear population.pdf

    Evergreen Alliance Staff
    By Kevin Boston
    Forest roads are a necessary element for accessing forestry resources, but their impact on the environment can be significant. Forest roads can cause a variety of impacts on local wildlife that may lead to extirpation: facilitating the spread of invasive organisms, causing death or harm by vehicle strikes, and changing the behaviour of animals to their detriment. Roads create improved access to forests, which can increase predation rates from hunters. Animals may move to avoid traffic noise, increasing their vulnerability to predation by other animals. One of the most significant impacts of forest roads is on water quality, through both catastrophic and chronic sources of water pollution, primarily from sediment. While it is not the case that every road will cause any or all of these impacts, for those that do, mitigation measures can be used to lessen these negative effects. These mitigation measures must begin during the location phase of the road and should continue through construction, use, and maintenance of the roads. Application of these mitigation measures allows forest man- agers to minimize the impacts from their forest roads when necessary.
    (2016) The Potential Effects of Forest Roads on the Environment and Mitigating their Impacts.pdf

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