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!
Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences
21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy