The long‐term effects of intensive forest harvest on sensitive demographic stages of the American black bear (Ursus americanus) have been often overlooked. Much of Maine, USA, is covered in forests that are hospitable to bears and commercial timber harvest. To investigate the potential effects of differing intensities of disturbance on black bears, and on females with cubs particularly, we designed a large‐scale natural experiment with 197 motion‐sensitive camera sites dispersed over representative forest stands in northern and central Maine. Using multi‐state occupancy models, we distinguished the overall trends in space use by females with young versus adult bears without young. Forest disturbance at large spatial scales was positively associated with the probability of use for both demographic groups and the availability of hardwood trees was an additional important factor for habitat use by females with young. Our study illustrates the use of motion‐sensitive cameras to monitor and understand habitat use by distinct life‐history stages of animals living in human‐modified landscapes, and results indicate that managers can maintain black bear habitat in areas of active forest harvest by ensuring the availability of hardwood species

Differential habitat use between demographic states of black bears in managed timber forests

Mortelliti, Alessio
2024-01-01

Abstract

The long‐term effects of intensive forest harvest on sensitive demographic stages of the American black bear (Ursus americanus) have been often overlooked. Much of Maine, USA, is covered in forests that are hospitable to bears and commercial timber harvest. To investigate the potential effects of differing intensities of disturbance on black bears, and on females with cubs particularly, we designed a large‐scale natural experiment with 197 motion‐sensitive camera sites dispersed over representative forest stands in northern and central Maine. Using multi‐state occupancy models, we distinguished the overall trends in space use by females with young versus adult bears without young. Forest disturbance at large spatial scales was positively associated with the probability of use for both demographic groups and the availability of hardwood trees was an additional important factor for habitat use by females with young. Our study illustrates the use of motion‐sensitive cameras to monitor and understand habitat use by distinct life‐history stages of animals living in human‐modified landscapes, and results indicate that managers can maintain black bear habitat in areas of active forest harvest by ensuring the availability of hardwood species
2024
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https://wildlife.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jwmg.22501
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3071239
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