|•||Habitat Dynamics and Function|
|•||Species at Risk Recovery Planning|
|•||Ecological Risk Assessments|
|•||Climate Change and Biodiversity|
Effects of Mountain Pine Beetle on Habitat Occupancies of Multiple Species
Habitat for many forest-dependent species in British Columbia is being affected by an unprecedented epidemic of the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae; MPB) and changing ecological conditions caused by climate change. Fine-resolution spatial habitat supply models for multiple species are one tool that can help managers and researchers understand how forest management decisions may need to adjust and account for the effects of broad ecological changes in order to sustain multiple habitat values into the future.
Services: In collaboration with other consultants (Wildlife Infometrics Ltd.), research scientists, and government and non-government agencies, Cortex co-developed causal models of habitat conditions and species occupancy probability, as well as linking these habitat dynamics to spatial projections of disturbances and landscape dynamics. In addition, Cortex developed the conceptual basis for incorporating climate change interactions within these habitat models.
Outcomes: The research group produced peer-reviewed habitat occupancy maps for 13 vertebrate species (including several species at risk) for the Central Interior Ecoregion of British Columbia. For selected forest districts, habitat conditions were projected into the future, accounting for the effects of MPB losses and forest harvesting. Habitat quality projections for key species have been verified through consultation with wildlife experts. Maps are available through Hectares BC to enable such uses as (1) area-summaries of projected habitat quality by species for calculating sustainable forest management (SFM) indicators; (2) inputs to forest management planning and timber supply models; (3) studies of long-term effects of silviculture post-disturbance.