Menu Close

Project: Cumulative effects of harvest, development and climate change on barren-ground caribou

Clients: Government of Northwest Territories, World Wildlife Fund

Tools: SyncroSim, CCE, DG-Sim

Project Overview:

Over the last few decades, declining trends in population size have been observed in a wide array of barren-ground caribou herds. While the cause for such declines are complex and often the subject of ongoing debate, key factors contributing to herd declines are most likely to be harvest and natural mortality, anthropogenic disturbance across the landscape, and changes in environmental conditions. As baren-ground caribou continue to experience widespread population declines, individual herds shall become increasingly vulnerable to any and all potential stressors. In order to be best equipped to manage such herds, forecasting tools are essential to predicting the combined cumulative effects of all such factors on the future fate of populations.

To better inform management decisions in the face of future uncertainties, we have created the Caribou Cumulative Effects (CCE) model, which to-date we have applied to two barren-ground caribou herds in the Canadian arctic: the Porcupine Caribou herd and the Bathurst herd. The CCE model uses an innovative, stochastic multi-model framework approach to project the impact of cumulative effects on herds of barren-ground caribou. The first component of the CCE framework is a landscape change model (SyncroSim), which predicts changes in land use and vegetation as a function of assumptions regarding industrial development and future climate. This model then feeds its projections into a second model (Energy-Protein model), which calculates the response of individual caribou to such changes, as measured through projections of future body condition and changes in caribou reproduction and survival. The final portion of the CCE framework is a population model (DG-Sim), which projects future changes in herd size. Users of the CCE model are as well given the flexibility to edit model inputs and drive these simulations themselves, using SyncroSim’s free software framework.

Photo credit: F. Mauer USFWS
caribou-ranges
caribou-ranges

Project:

Cumulative effects of harvest, development and climate change on barren-ground caribou

Clients: Government of Northwest Territories, World Wildlife Fund

Focus Areas: Population Dynamics, Landscape Change

Tools: SyncroSim, CCE, DG-Sim

 

Project Overview:

Over the last few decades, declining trends in population size have been observed in a wide array of barren-ground caribou herds. While the cause for such declines are complex and often the subject of ongoing debate, key factors contributing to herd declines are most likely to be harvest and natural mortality, anthropogenic disturbance across the landscape, and changes in environmental conditions. As baren-ground caribou continue to experience widespread population declines, individual herds shall become increasingly vulnerable to any and all potential stressors. In order to be best equipped to manage such herds, forecasting tools are essential to predicting the combined cumulative effects of all such factors on the future fate of populations.

To better inform management decisions in the face of future uncertainties, we have created the Caribou Cumulative Effects (CCE) model, which to-date we have applied to two barren-ground caribou herds in the Canadian arctic: the Porcupine Caribou herd and the Bathurst herd. The CCE model uses an innovative, stochastic multi-model framework approach to project the impact of cumulative effects on herds of barren-ground caribou. The first component of the CCE framework is a landscape change model (SyncroSim), which predicts changes in land use and vegetation as a function of assumptions regarding industrial development and future climate. This model then feeds its projections into a second model (Energy-Protein model), which calculates the response of individual caribou to such changes, as measured through projections of future body condition and changes in caribou reproduction and survival. The final portion of the CCE framework is a population model (DG-Sim), which projects future changes in herd size. Users of the CCE model are as well given the flexibility to edit model inputs and drive these simulations themselves, using SyncroSim’s free software framework.

caribou-ranges