An extensive study about the impact of human development on wolves across boreal ecosystems was just released as an open access paper in Ecology and Evolution. Authors include Raincoast’s Paul Pauquet.
The study compiled measurements from GPS datasets for 255 wolves ranging over a 1,000,000 km2.
They found that wolves adapted in a range of ways depending on factors like road or cutblock density.
Their findings suggest that the functional response to habitat change from human footprint is significant.
Wolves trade‐off among human‐impacted habitats, and adaptively switch from using roads to facilitate movement (while also risking encounters with humans), to using cutblocks that may have higher ungulate densities.
The study recommends that conservation managers consider the contextual and interacting effects of footprints when assessing impacts on carnivores.
These effects likely have indirect impacts on ecosystems too, including on prey species.
You can find the full paper here.
Photo by John E Marriott.
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