We used logistic regression to derive scaled resource selection functions (RSFs) for female black bears at two study areas in the North Cascades Mountains. We tested the hypothesis that the influence of roads would result in potential habitat effectiveness (RSFs without the influence of roads) being greater than realized habitat effectiveness (RSFs with roads). Roads consistently had a negative influence on black bear RSFs across seasons and study areas. Roads reduced habitat effectiveness during all seasons at both study areas and changes in the potential habitat values ranged from 1.7% to 16.9%. The greatest reduction in habitat values occurred during the early-season on the west-side study area due to high open road densities. These results support the hypothesis that roads reduce habitat effectiveness for black bears. The influence of roads could be reduced through road closures to reduce open road densities and limit traffic volumes. We then used the scaled RSFs in a habitat-based population model to assess the influences of timber harvest and roads on potential black bear population sizes. On the west-side study area the potential black bear population size was most influenced by moderate use roads and timber harvest during the early-season (41% reduction). On the east-side study area, low use roads had the greatest effect on potential black bear population during the early-season (10% reduction). During the late-season, in both study areas, roads had less influence on the potential population sizes as bears were able to access habitats away from roads. The habitat-population model provided reasonable estimates of bear densities compared to other study areas with similar habitats and could be extrapolated to estimate potential black bear populations in other areas with similar habitats. This approach may provide a useful link between the landscape ecology and population biology of black bears, and could eventually be useful in the development of habitat-based population viability analyses.
Biological Conservation – Elsevier
Published: Oct 1, 2005
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