An elk captured in the field with camera traps placed by Alexia Constantinou, who is currently working on a project in the East Kootenay region that explores the effects that forest management practices have on wildlife. (Submitted file)

An elk captured in the field with camera traps placed by Alexia Constantinou, who is currently working on a project in the East Kootenay region that explores the effects that forest management practices have on wildlife. (Submitted file)

Wildlife camera project explores effects of forest management practices on wildlife

Findings show no detections of cougars in sites that have been clear cut

A wildlife camera trapping project taking place across the province of British Columbia aims to better understand the relationship between wildlife and forest management.

The project focuses on the scientific principles related to the growth and development of forest organisms and the ecology of plant and animal communities. It explores the effects that logging practices and forest management have on all shapes and sizes of wild animals in the province.

Alexia Constantinou is one of the people heading up the project here in the East Kootenay region. She is an MSc student, Director for the BC Chapter of the Wildlife Society (BCTWS) and she is part of the Wildlife Coexistence Lab and the Belowground Ecology group.

She says that she chose to expand her learning by taking applied forest resources management courses including silviculture and hydrology, which ultimately lead her to this project.

“In my last year of the program, under the supervision of Dr. Cole Burton and Dr. Suzanne Simard, I concentrated my undergraduate thesis on a small project looking at salvage logging effects on elk and moose in the northern part of the province,” she said. “With Dr. Burton, Dr. Simard and Dexter Hodder at the University of Northern British Columbia and the Tl’azt’en Nation’s John Prince Research Forest, I continue to expand the parameters of my study in my current MSc on the effects of forest management practices on wildlife.”

The project has been focused at three sites: John Prince Research Forest (co-managed between the UNBC and the Tl’azt’en Nation), Alex Fraser Research Forest (University of British Columbia’s interior research forest), and a Canfor block near Jaffray.

“At each location, there is a replicated gradient of forest harvesting treatments, in which wildlife cameras have been set up to capture which species appear, what their activities are, and if certain species are demonstrating different amounts of usage of treatments,” Constantinou explained.

One of their most important findings so far, she says, is that the treatments (sites) where cougars were captured by camera trap are those that have canopy cover.

“No detections of cougars have been found in areas which have been clearcut or those with only seed trees,” Constantinou said. “We are still working on the results of the ungulate responses to the harvesting treatments, and are looking forward to seeing the results.”

She adds that partial cutting and leaving seed trees are more expensive methods than clearcutting, but they provide more wildlife habitat and structural diversity versus full canopy removal.

“There is a need to evaluate the response of the entire mammal community (both small and large mammals) to a gradient of harvesting methods in B.C. as the industry continues to move forward,” she said. “When we think about the disturbances our forests are having (fires, beetles, logging and climate change), we also need to see harvesting as disturbances to habitat. The newly appointed Wildlife Advisory Council, and the Indigenous representation on that council, is a positive step.”

This past spring, the Minister’s Wildlife Advisory Council was formed as part of the province’s draft wildlife management plan, Together for Wildlife. The plan was developed in consultation with Indigenous people, rural communities, wildlife organizations, industry stakeholders and the general public.

READ MORE: Wildsight’s Bergenske appointed to Minister’s Wildlife Advisory Council

LETTER: Cautious optimism for provincial wildlife strategy

Constantinou says that she and the rest of the team are integrating their research with forest management, which is of crucial importance.

“The goal of the data we collect and the results that follow is that they become part of how planners and people in the field conduct their work. I’m in touch with the Canfor Kootenays biologists to work towards incorporating the results into management outcomes for the company in the area. At the other sites, I’ve been privileged and fortunate enough to go to the field with the local First Nations and present information at community meetings and dinners,” said Constantinou.

She quoted one of her supervisors, Dr. Cole Burton, who summed up the value of this work by saying, “this information from our cam surveys is so important to navigate some of the inevitable trade-offs between conservation and development.”



corey.bullock@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

A deer captured in the field with camera traps placed by Alexia Constantinou, who is currently working on a project in the East Kootenay region that explores the effects that forest management practices have on wildlife. (Submitted file)

A deer captured in the field with camera traps placed by Alexia Constantinou, who is currently working on a project in the East Kootenay region that explores the effects that forest management practices have on wildlife. (Submitted file)

A cougar captured in the field with camera traps placed by Alexia Constantinou, who is currently working on a project in the East Kootenay region that explores the effects that forest management practices have on wildlife. (Submitted file)

A cougar captured in the field with camera traps placed by Alexia Constantinou, who is currently working on a project in the East Kootenay region that explores the effects that forest management practices have on wildlife. (Submitted file)

A cougar captured in the field with camera traps placed by Alexia Constantinou, who is currently working on a project in the East Kootenay region that explores the effects that forest management practices have on wildlife. (Submitted file)

A cougar captured in the field with camera traps placed by Alexia Constantinou, who is currently working on a project in the East Kootenay region that explores the effects that forest management practices have on wildlife. (Submitted file)

A skunk captured in the field with camera traps placed by Alexia Constantinou, who is currently working on a project in the East Kootenay region that explores the effects that forest management practices have on wildlife. (Submitted file)

A skunk captured in the field with camera traps placed by Alexia Constantinou, who is currently working on a project in the East Kootenay region that explores the effects that forest management practices have on wildlife. (Submitted file)

Just Posted

A man wearing a mask against coronavirus walks past an NHS advertisement about COVID-19 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
92 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths: Interior Health

The region is reporting 92 cases after the weekend

Baker Street in downtown Cranbrook. Trevor Crawley photo.
Cranbrook looks to create a master plan for future of downtown core

City staff is eyeing a master plan to help city council and… Continue reading

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Real estate has been moving very briskly in Kimberley since last summer. Bulletin file
Hot Kimberley real estate market leads to tightened inventory

Real estate sales in the entire Kootenay region have been brisk for… Continue reading

This week the Kootenay East Youth Soccer Association’s  Domino’s Pizza Junior Players of the Week were Mia Molnar and Isabella Savage  (pictured above with Coach Rob Niedermayer ),
Keysa Players of the Week and team standings

This week the Kootenay East Youth Soccer Association’s Domino’s Pizza Junior Players… Continue reading

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

Vernon’s Noric House long-term care facility’s COVID-10 outbreak has been declared over by Interior Health. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
COVID outbreak at Vernon’s Noric House declared over

10 deaths were linked to the outbreak at long-term care facility

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Gas prices jumped in Golden to 131.9c this week, a trend that's supposed to continue into the summer. (Claire Palmer/Golden Star)
Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Clovechok concerned as gas prices continue to rise

Fuel prices are supposed to skyrocket this summer as British Columbians await BCUC analysis

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read