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Modeling Critical Forest Habitat in the Southern Coal Fields of West Virginia  [PDF]
Aaron E. Maxwell,Michael P. Strager,Charles B. Yuill,J. Todd Petty
International Journal of Ecology , 2012, DOI: 10.1155/2012/182683
Abstract: Throughout the Central Appalachians of the United States resource extraction primarily from coal mining has contributed to the majority of the forest conversion to barren and reclaimed pasture and grass. The loss of forests in this ecoregion is significantly impacting biodiversity at a regional scale. Since not all forest stands provide equal levels of ecological functions, it is critical to identify and map existing forested resources by the benefits that accrue from their unique spatial patterns, watershed drainage, and landscape positions. We utilized spatial analysis and remote sensing techniques to define critical forest characteristics. The characteristics were defined by applying a forest fragmentation model utilizing morphological image analysis, defining headwater catchments at a 1?:?24,000 scale, and deriving ecological land units (ELUs) from elevation data. Once critical forest values were calculated, it was possible to identify clusters of critical stands using spatial statistics. This spatially explicit method for modeling forest habitat could be implemented as a tool for assessing the impact of resource extraction and aid in the conservation of critical forest habitat throughout a landscape. 1. Introduction Forests provide many benefits to society and the natural environment that include providing wildlife habitat [1], maintaining biodiversity [2], regulating climate and providing carbon storage [3, 4], nitrogen cycling [5, 6], and altering and moderating hydrologic function, including evapotranspiration rates and surface runoff volumes [7]. Society land use needs and resource extraction often result in the loss of forested land cover, leading to an impact on biodiversity from habitat conversion [8–10]. In reference to forest and biodiversity conservation, there has been a shift in focus from rare or endangered species management to ecosystem and landscape scale management in which the health and function of the ecosystem as a whole is considered [11]. This focus requires that a diversity of ecological processes be considered, such as the health and structure of the forest [11]. The need is to focus on conservation of habitat richness and biodiversity at the landscape-level. Conservation efforts should be directed at spatially explicit, landscape-level attributes, such as minimizing structural contrast between adjacent landscape units [12]. The goal of this paper was to implement such a methodology in analyzing the conservation of biodiversity and forest habitat in the Southern Coal Fields of West Virginia. We have expanded on previous
Learning on governance in forest ecosystems: Lessons from recent research  [cached]
Catherine May Tucker
International Journal of the Commons , 2010,
Abstract: Research on forest governance has intensified in recent decades with evidence that efforts to mitigate deforestation and encourage sustainable management have had mixed results. This article considers the progress that has been made in understanding the range of variation in forest governance and management experiences. It synthesizes findings of recent interdisciplinary research efforts, which indicate that sustainable management of forest resources is associated with secure rights, institutions that fit the local context, and monitoring and enforcement. At the same time, the variability in local contexts and interactions of social, political, economic and ecological processes across levels and scales of analysis create uncertainties for the design and maintenance of sustainable forest gover
Prescribed burning experiences in Italy: an integrated approach to prevent forest fires
Ascoli D,Catalanotti A,Valese E,Cabiddu S
Forest@ , 2012, DOI: 10.3832/efor0686-009
Abstract: Prescribed burning is used in many geographical areas for multiple and integrated objectives (wildfire prevention, habitat conservation, grazing management). In Europe the collaboration between researchers and fire professionals has brought to implement this technique over increasing areas (~104 ha year-1), effectively and efficiently. In Italy prescribed burning has not been much studied and it is rarely applied. A new interest is recently rising. Some Regions particularly threatened by wildfires have updated their legislation and set up procedures to authorize prescribed fire experiments and interventions. From 2004 to 2011 several scientific, operative and training experiences have been carried out at a regional level (Basilicata, Campania, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Piemonte, Sardegna, Toscana). The present paper aims to: (i) document and compare these regional programs; (ii) discuss their frameworks and limitations; (iii) provide information about objectives, prescriptions, methods and results. The study has involved Universities, Forest Corps, Civil Protection, Municipalities, Parks and professionals from Italy and other Countries. Interventions have regarded integrated objectives (fire hazard reduction; habitat conservation; forest and grazing management), and involved several vegetation types (broadleaved and conifer forests; Mediterranean and Continental shrublands; grasslands). Studies on fire behaviour and ecology have helped to set prescriptions for specific objectives and environments. Results have been transferred to professionals through training sessions. Several common elements are outlined: integrated objectives, multidisciplinary character, training and research products. Ecological questions, certification to the use of fire, communication to local communities and the proposal of new studies, are some of the issues outlined in the discussion. The present study is the first review at national level and we hope it will help to deepen the meaning and limitations of a technique which is an effective tool to prevent wildfires when integrated in the forest and land planning process.
Tigers Need Cover: Multi-Scale Occupancy Study of the Big Cat in Sumatran Forest and Plantation Landscapes  [PDF]
Sunarto Sunarto, Marcella J. Kelly, Karmila Parakkasi, Sybille Klenzendorf, Eka Septayuda, Harry Kurniawan
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030859
Abstract: The critically endangered Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae Pocock, 1929) is generally known as a forest-dependent animal. With large-scale conversion of forests into plantations, however, it is crucial for restoration efforts to understand to what extent tigers use modified habitats. We investigated tiger-habitat relationships at 2 spatial scales: occupancy across the landscape and habitat use within the home range. Across major landcover types in central Sumatra, we conducted systematic detection, non-detection sign surveys in 47, 17×17 km grid cells. Within each cell, we surveyed 40, 1-km transects and recorded tiger detections and habitat variables in 100 m segments totaling 1,857 km surveyed. We found that tigers strongly preferred forest and used plantations of acacia and oilpalm, far less than their availability. Tiger probability of occupancy covaried positively and strongly with altitude, positively with forest area, and negatively with distance-to-forest centroids. At the fine scale, probability of habitat use by tigers across landcover types covaried positively and strongly with understory cover and altitude, and negatively and strongly with human settlement. Within forest areas, tigers strongly preferred sites that are farther from water bodies, higher in altitude, farther from edge, and closer to centroid of large forest block; and strongly preferred sites with thicker understory cover, lower level of disturbance, higher altitude, and steeper slope. These results indicate that to thrive, tigers depend on the existence of large contiguous forest blocks, and that with adjustments in plantation management, tigers could use mosaics of plantations (as additional roaming zones), riparian forests (as corridors) and smaller forest patches (as stepping stones), potentially maintaining a metapopulation structure in fragmented landscapes. This study highlights the importance of a multi-spatial scale analysis and provides crucial information relevant to restoring tigers and other wildlife in forest and plantation landscapes through improvement in habitat extent, quality, and connectivity.
Forest Stakeholder Participation in Improving Game Habitat in Swedish Forests  [PDF]
Eugene E. Ezebilo
Sustainability , 2012, DOI: 10.3390/su4071580
Abstract: Although in Sweden the simultaneous use of forests for timber production and game hunting are both of socioeconomic importance it often leads to conflicting interests. This study examines forest stakeholder participation in improving game habitat to increase hunting opportunities as well as redistribute game activities in forests to help reduce browsing damage in valuable forest stands. The data for the study were collected from a nationwide survey that involved randomly selected hunters and forest owners in Sweden. An ordered logit model was used to account for possible factors influencing the respondents’ participation in improving game habitat. The results showed that on average, forest owning hunters were more involved in improving game habitat than non-hunting forest owners. The involvement of non-forest owning hunters was intermediate between the former two groups. The respondents’ participation in improving game habitat were mainly influenced by factors such as the quantity of game meat obtained, stakeholder group, forests on hunting grounds, the extent of risk posed by game browsing damage to the economy of forest owners, importance of bagging game during hunting, and number of hunting days. The findings will help in designing a more sustainable forest management strategy that integrates timber production and game hunting in forests.
Change is in the air: future challenges for applied forest research
Tognetti R,Cherubini P
iForest : Biogeosciences and Forestry , 2009, DOI: 10.3832/ifor0492-002
Abstract: Forests provide a wide range of benefits to people. Forest plantations on former agricultural land for commercial and restoration purposes may enhance ecosystem services, including biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration. Incorporating these ecosystem services into resource management decisions is of paramount importance. Efforts towards the sustainable management of forest ecosystems for climate change mitigation give opportunities to establish a new relationship between researchers and forests. Growing and competing demands for food, biomass, timber, and environmental services is posing severe challenges to effective forest governance, considering the impact of global change. However, tree plantations can hardly match biological diversity and structural attributes of the original forest cover, which warrants for future sustainable mitigation through forest activities.
Encouraging Family Forest Owners to Create Early Successional Wildlife Habitat in Southern New England  [PDF]
Bill Buffum, Christopher Modisette, Scott R. McWilliams
PLOS ONE , 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089972
Abstract: Encouraging family forest owners to create early successional habitat is a high priority for wildlife conservation agencies in the northeastern USA, where most forest land is privately owned. Many studies have linked regional declines in wildlife populations to the loss of early successional habitat. The government provides financial incentives to create early successional habitat, but the number of family forest owners who actively manage their forests remains low. Several studies have analyzed participation of family forest owners in federal forestry programs, but no study to date has focused specifically on creation of wildlife habitat. The objective of our study was to analyze the experience of a group of wildlife-oriented family forest owners who were trained to create early successional habitat. This type of family forest owners represents a small portion of the total population of family forest owners, but we believe they can play an important role in creating wildlife habitat, so it is important to understand how outreach programs can best reach them. The respondents shared some characteristics but differed in terms of forest holdings, forestry experience and interest in earning forestry income. Despite their strong interest in wildlife, awareness about the importance of early successional habitat was low. Financial support from the federal government appeared to be important in motivating respondents to follow up after the training with activities on their own properties: 84% of respondents who had implemented activities received federal financial support and 47% would not have implemented the activities without financial assistance. In order to mobilize greater numbers of wildlife-oriented family forest owners to create early successional habitat we recommend focusing outreach efforts on increasing awareness about the importance of early successional habitat and the availability of technical and financial assistance.
Elk (Cervus elaphus) Seasonal Habitat Selection in a Heterogeneous Forest Structure  [PDF]
Jesse N. Popp,David N. C. McGeachy,Josef Hamr
International Journal of Forestry Research , 2013, DOI: 10.1155/2013/415913
Abstract: Seasonal habitat selection by the reintroduced Burwash elk population, approximately 30?km south of Sudbury, Ontario, has been analysed in order to assist in the development of future management. Twenty-five adult females were radio-collared and tracked 1–3 times a week for 3 years. The most prominent patterns included selection of intolerant hardwood forests (trembling aspen, white birch, and balsam poplar) during all seasons, while Great Lakes-St. Lawrence pines (white and red pine dominated stands) were used less than expected based on availability for all seasons. The selection patterns are likely associated with seasonal climatic conditions and forage preferences. Because the selection behaviours displayed here varied greatly from other elk habitat studies, it is suggested that managers consider the importance of population-specific habitat studies before developing related strategies. 1. Introduction Historically, elk (Cervus elaphus) were distributed across many regions of Canada [1–3]. Due to human competition for land, throughout the 1800s, elk populations across North America were severely depressed and extirpated in some areas [2]. After unsuccessful attempts to reintroduce elk into Ontario in the 1930s and 1940s, more recent (1998–2001) reintroductions resulted in the successful establishment of elk populations including those introduced to the Burwash region, approximately 30?km south of Sudbury, Ontario [4–8]. Now considered acclimated to their surroundings in Burwash [9], habitat selection of this population must be assessed in order to assist in management strategies. Elk habitat selection has been well documented throughout much of the species’ Western range in North America [10–16]. Many factors influence elk habitat selection, including food availability and quality, shelter, cover, predator avoidance, temperature, water availability, elevation, slope, and snow conditions [17–19]. Density of conspecifics may also influence selection [20, 21]. Habitat use in relation to forest cover and productive foraging habitats has been well studied in elk [22–27]; however, selection of forest cover types in heterogeneous forest structures remains less clear. Habitat use decisions vary with resource availability, and the knowledge of regional habitat selection is important for wildlife management strategies [28]. Habitat selection by the Burwash elk population has been previously studied; however, many of its aspects are still in need for examination. It has long been accepted that habitat selection is a hierarchical process that may vary with
Deforestation and Primate Habitat Availability in Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve, Mexico
International Journal of Ecosystem , 2012, DOI: 10.5923/j.ije.20120204.03
Abstract: Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve (LTBR) in southeast Mexico is characterized by high rates of deforestation and habitat deterioration, containing two Mexican primate species, Alouatta palliata and Ateles geoffroyi. In this study, we integrate the analysis of landscape dynamics with primate population research covering a period of 21 years (1986-2007), assessing the impacts of habitat transformation on primate populations in a study area located in the southeast region of the LTBR. We found the higher deforestation rate (1.5%) from 1986 to 2000, compared to 2000-2007 (0.5%), but reduction in primate’s habitat was of 62% from 1986-2007. Land cover changes have modified the landscape in such a way that current available habitat for primates is constituted by small forest patches, immersed in a pasture matrix. A total of 37 A. palliata and 68 A. geoffroyi individuals were counted; these data were compared with information available for the same primate populations in 1987 and 2000, revealing that despite habitat loss, primate population sizes have remained relatively stable. The analysis of occupation and colonization of forests fragments by primates suggests that fragment size and connectivity are key landscape features for the persistence of primates in the region. Our results imply that strong anthropogenic pressure against primate habitat is still taking place in this portion of LTBR; and that habitat availability, as well as primate population viability in this region, are linked to political and socioeconomic factors affecting land use and production systems adopted by locals, as well as to the management efforts of the LTBR.
Integration of woodland caribou habitat management and forest management in northern Ontario - current status and issues
Ted (E.R) Armstrong
Rangifer , 1998,
Abstract: Woodland caribou {Rangifer tarandus caribou) range across northern Ontario, occurring in both the Hudson Bay Lowlands and the Boreal Forest. Woodland caribou extend south well into the merchantable forest, occurring in licensed and/or actively managed Forest Management Units (FMU's) across the province. Caribou range has gradually but continuously receded northward over the past century. Since the early 1990's, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) has been developing and implementing a woodland caribou habitat management strategy in northwestern Ontario. The purpose of the caribou habitat strategy is to maintain woodland caribou occupancy of currently occupied range in northwestern Ontario. Long-term caribou habitat needs and predator-prey dynamics form the basis of this strategy, which requires the development of a landscape-level caribou habitat mosaic across the region within caribou range. This represents a significant change from traditional forest management approaches, which were based partially upon moose (Alces alces) habitat management principles. A number of issues and concerns regarding implications of caribou management to the forest industry are being addressed, including short-term and long-term reductions in wood supply and wood quality, and increased access costs. Other related concerns include the ability to regenerate forests to pre-harvest stand conditions, remote tourism concerns, implications for moose populations, and required information on caribou biology and habitat. The forest industry and other stakeholders have been actively involved with the OMNR in attempting to address these concerns, so that caribou habitat requirements are met while ensuring the maintenance of a viable timber industry, other forest uses and the forest ecosystem.
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