Carbiou Ranges Research Launch

DECEMBER 2019

This is multi-year, collaborative partnership between NWSAR Committee, the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI), and the Alberta Trappers Association (ATA). ABMI currently collects data on ungulates and predators for density estimation in Woodland Caribou ranges across western Canada, and local trappers of ATA will be supporting the field component of this project.

The study area includes the Caribou Mountains and Chinchaga caribou ranges in Northwest Alberta. Data from this research project complements data being collected in Northeast Alberta by ABMI’s Caribou Monitoring Unit (CMU), in collaboration with the Regional Industry Caribou Collaboration and the Government of Alberta.

150 remote cameras and 24 audio devices will be deployed across the two ranges, and will be serviced annually by ATA and local trappers. These devices will capture images and acoustic data that ABMI will use to analyze and develop estimates of ungulate and predator population densities within the two caribou ranges. The study’s ten focal species include Boreal Caribou, Elk, Deer, Moose, Bison, Grizzly Bears, Blacks Bears, Wolves, Cougars, Wolverine, and Boreal Bird presence will also be analyzed.

Another dimension of this project includes a close examination of the vegetation and forest cover within the study area, as well as the nature and extent of human footprint, or human activity, on the landscape. ABMI updates a province-wide “Human Footprint Inventory” annually, and is currently producing next-generation “Land Cover” products based on newly available satellite data. This remote-sensing work will be enhanced by boots-on-the-ground verification activities, once again drawing on the expertise of local people in Northwest Alberta. Key objectives include tracking the recovery of previously disturbed areas, and identifying candidate areas for future habitat restoration efforts.

This project is funded by NWSAR Committee.