Climate change, not habitat loss, may be biggest threat to caribou herds: study

By Bob Weber
Canadian Press in CBC News
April 29, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Climate change, not habitat loss, may be the biggest threat to the survival of threatened caribou herds, new research suggests. “We might need to do additional management actions if our goal is to conserve caribou,” said Melanie Dickie, lead author of the study. For years, biologists have pointed to sustained industry-caused damage to the old-growth forests preferred by caribou as the reason the species is now threatened. …But climate change has also been at work in the forests. Slowly warming temperatures have greatly expanded the range in which whitetail deer can thrive. …Using an extensive network of camera traps that captured tens of thousands of images of whitetail deer, the researchers concluded that the north-south temperature gradient made a much larger difference to deer density than the east-west differences in human disturbance. …If Dickie’s paper is correct, no amount of tree-planting and cutline remediation will be enough.

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