Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Limits for mountain trail use identified

23.09.2011
Research identifies thresholds of human activity on national park trails that lead to wildlife disturbance and ecological change

A new study on human impact to wildlife in some of Canada's most popular national parks has identified limits at which trails can be used before ecological disturbance takes place. The study led by University of Calgary Masters graduate, J. Kimo Rogala, is published in the current online issue of the journal Ecology and Society. Rogala was a student of professor Marco Musiani in the Faculty of Environmental Design.

The research found that wolves and elk were disturbed away from high quality habitat in Banff, Kootenay and Yoho National Parks in areas where human traffic on trails was monitored. In particular, the study found that wolves and elk avoided areas within 50 metres of trail routes travelled by one person per hour or greater; and up to 400 metres from trails with human activity above two persons per hour. Such avoidance behaviours are consistent with previous scientific research; however, the identification of threshold levels at which this occurs is new.

Partially funded by Parks Canada, the research conducted on wolf and elk distributions in Banff, Kootenay, and Yoho National Parks in Canada between 2005 and 2008 also sheds light on the mechanism by which further ecological changes may be occurring. Results found that at human activity levels below two persons per hour, wolves avoided and conversely, elk were attracted to, habitat areas within 51-400 metres of trails. This suggests a refuge zone for elk from key predators, such as wolves.

"The challenge of parks and reserves is finding the balance between long term ecological integrity and providing visitors with quality experiences and learning opportunities," Rogala said. "This research increases understanding of how humans impact the national park landscape and provides a tool for park staff to better manage sensitive areas such as wildlife corridors and primary habitat."

Another recently-published research paper out of Musiani's lab by PhD graduate Tyler Muhly supports the hypothesis that high human activity displaces predators, but not prey species, creating a spatial refuge from predation. This research, performed on provincial ranchlands in Alberta, Canada, found that activity greater than 18 humans per day (also approximately one person per hour, as found in National Parks) had the potential to interfere with predator-prey interactions.

"These two independent publications from a national park area and from a ranchland area both found similar thresholds on wildlife disturbance, suggesting significant ecological consequences," Musiani said. "Nowadays, human influences are everywhere and we should learn to cope with them."

An HTML or PDF copy of Rogala and Musiani's research publication can be found at the Ecology and Society journal website: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol16/iss3/art16/

Grady Semmens | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucalgary.ca

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Species may appear deceptively resilient to climate change
24.11.2017 | University of California - Davis

nachricht Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>