A distance-based analysis of habitat selection by American black bears (Ursus americanus) on the Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

Obbard, Martyn E.; Coady, Melissa B.; Pond, Bruce A.; Schaefer, James A.; Burrows, Frank G.
November 2010
Canadian Journal of Zoology;Nov2010, Vol. 88 Issue 11, p1063
Academic Journal
Because of their wide-ranging habits, conserving large carnivores such as American black bears (Ursus americanus Pallas, 1780) often depends on understanding habitat needs beyond the boundary of protected areas. We studied habitat selection by black bears in the vicinity of Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario - a small, isolated population whose persistence appears dependent on habitat on lands outside the Park. We used an approach based on Euclidean distances to document seasonal habitat selection at two spatial scales and to identify candidate habitat types for protection. Adult females selected dense mixed forests to establish home ranges within the population range, whereas subadults and yearlings selected dense deciduous forests. Within home ranges, adults selected dense mixed forest in spring-summer and dense deciduous forest in late summer - fall. Subadults selected dense deciduous forest, marsh, dense mixed forest, and water during the spring-summer and avoided developed lands and roads. Yearlings selected dense mixed forest, dense deciduous forest, and sparse forests in spring-summer and dense deciduous forest and dense mixed forest in late summer - fall. The selection of dense deciduous and dense mixed forest stands, especially at the broader scale, suggests that strategies to ensure persistence of this isolated population should focus on protecting the integrity of these stands.


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