Effects of Habitat Quality and Anthropogenic Disturbance on Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos) Home Range Fidelity

person in den opening


In the Rocky Mountain eastern slopes of Alberta, Canada, grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis Merriam, 1914) live in a landscape heavily impacted by industrial development and human disturbance. We characterized the role of changing habitat quality and new disturbance features on patterns of grizzly bear seasonal home range fidelity and drift by comparing consecutive-year seasonal home ranges. We relied on the geographic technique Spatial-Temporal Analysis of Moving Polygons (STAMP) to examine changes in habitat quality and new development between zones of home range fidelity, expansion and contraction. Areas considered to be high quality habitat were selected at a greater frequency than available and retained in zones of home range fidelity, but also vacated during home range contraction. Areas of decreasing habitat quality were equally present in zones of contraction, expansion, and stability. The proportion of new forest harvest areas and roads developed within the past year did not differ between zones of home range change, but the proportion of new wellsites was higher in contraction zones than stability zones. Our results showed that while considerable drift occurs, changes in habitat quality and recent anthropogenic disturbances cannot account for annual variation in home ranges, suggesting other important factors influencing behaviour and movement.

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Sorensen, A. A., Stenhouse, G. B., Bourbonnais, M. L., & Nelson, T. A. (2015). Effects of habitat quality and anthropogenic disturbance on grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) home range fidelity. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 93(11), 857–865. doi:10.1139/cjz-2015-0095