Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program
FIA Project 2654004

    High Elevation Winter Range
Project lead: Canadian Forest Products Ltd.
Contributing Authors: McNay, R. Scott; Carson, Allan; Sulyma, Randy
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program
To aid in the recovery of woodland caribou in north-central British Columbia, Bayesian modeling techniques were employed to identify high elevation winter range (HEWR). The model was used to assign values from -1 (low range value), through 0 (medium), to +1 (high) for alpine and high-elevation forested habitats. The resulting spectrum of range values led to the development of seven different habitat types. We assessed the models effectiveness using data sets collected within the Chase, Wolverine, Finlay and Scott caribou herd areas in the Mackenzie forest district of north-central British Columbia. Collected data allowed us to address: the assessment of arboreal lichen abundance (data collected February through March 2007 and February 2008) and an aerial assessment of terrestrial and arboreal HEWR (data collected February 2008).Outcome of the assessments was to provide for enhanced confidence in: the aerial extent of HEWR and subsequent delineation of UWRs, caribou recovery actions associated with HEWR, and conservation of caribou range in north-central BC. In general, we found that the ongoing model modifications are in fact working to reduce the area of HEWR while retaining the portions that are most preferred by caribou. Arboreal lichen sampling on southwestern aspects contributed to the understanding of lichen growth in this range type. Aspect, elevation, branch characteristics, and tree species all contributed significantly to the estimate of arboreal lichen abundance. Aerial reconnaissance of modeled UWR revealed relatively low (<0.20) and balanced (both positive and negative) error rates and gave us confidence that digital mapping of this range was useful. Future work to complete this project and enable UWR designation includes further model adjustments to continue refinement of the UWR boundary and a final assessment of the suggested UWR area using relocations of radio-collared caribou.


Habitat Assessment (0.4Mb)

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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