Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program - Innovative
FIA Project 2326002

    Field verification of grizzly bear predictive distribution maps, and observations on other species in Tree Farm Licence 30 [2005 Project Description Only]
 
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program - Innovative
Description:
In an effort to develop management tools to predict and manage habitats of species at risk, this project aimed to record data on the distribution of fisher (Martes pennanti) and other species at risk in Tree Farm Licence 30 (TFL30) in central interior British Columbia, and compare findings to predictive distribution maps. Fisher track surveys were conducted along 16 transects (ranging from 375 to 2,975 m; total: 31,417 m) from December 2004 to February 2005. Tracks were plotted on predictive maps with a colour code to differentiate excellent-high quality habitats from medium-low quality ones. The majority (22 of 28 tracks) of tracks were in excellent-high quality habitats. However, the observed distribution of fisher tracks was not significantly different from random (P > 0.05) because of the small sample size. The majority of tracks were in late-successional mixed coniferous stands with a structural stage = 6 (mature and old) and 30-60% canopy closure. The proportion of fisher tracks in excellent-high quality and medium-low quality polygons was the same during the winters of 2003-2004 and 2004-2005. After pooling data from both years, 75 (84.3%) out of 89 tracks were in excellent-high quality habitats. The observed distribution of fisher tracks was significantly (P < 0.001) differed from random. The observed winter distribution of fisher tracks corresponded to the predicted distribution developed in previous studies. Wolverine (Gulo gulo) track records along 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 fisher inventory transects, and along the TFL road network in winter 2004-205, were pooled. Fifteen (65.2%) out of 23 tracks were in excellent-good quality habitats. The observed distribution of wolverine tracks was significantly (P < 0.001) different from random. This study showed that excellent-good quality wolverine habitats corresponded largely to the northern half of TFL30 as it was predicted in previous studies. No caribou signs were observed during the 2004-2005 winter. This study demonstrated that it was possible to use the Vegetation Resource Inventory (VRI) database to predict the distribution of fisher and wolverine by selecting a few variables only. The observed distributions of fisher and wolverine tracks were compatible with predicted ones, and overlapped that of American marten. This suggests that multi-species management areas can be identified and used in forest development plans.

Updated August 16, 2010 

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