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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

"Recent studies in sub-boreal forests of the western US post forest fire document high Snowshoe Hare densities in regenerating stands with high sapling densities within 0-2 decades"...................."This then raised the question of whether Canadian Lynx, a key predator of the Hares, would also use burned forest acreage more quickly after fire than previous studies had indicated"............"Within Washington State, the North Cascade Mountains are designated as critical lynx habitat and support one of the few remaining lynx breeding populations in the contiguous US" ................."According to a 2008 population model of Washington lynx habitat by Koehler et al. (2008), the state provided habitat for an estimated 87 lynx........................."In terms of conservation of forest carnivores, new findings from U. of British Columbia scientists offer a mixed message"............ "First, lynx use burned landscapes more often and more rapidly postfire than previously thought, which offers some hope that lynx and potentially other forest carnivores are resilient to large disturbances"................ "In contrast, if fire regimes do shift such that landscapes are more frequently burned by severe fires than in the past(due to warming temperatures), leading to high proportions of landscapes in early-seral(successional) conditions, there may be inadequate mature forest, postfire residuals, or regrowth to sustain predators(like Lynx) in these heavily burned landscapes"


Canada lynx use of burned areas: Conservation implications of changing fire regimes


  • Carmen M. Vanbianchi,

  • Melanie A. Murphy,

  • Karen E. Hodges

  • First published: 


A fundamental problem in ecology is forecasting how species will react to major disturbances. As the climate warms, large, frequent, and severe fires are restructuring forested landscapes at large spatial scales, with unknown impacts on imperilled predators.
Related image

 We use the United States federally Threatened Canada lynx as a case study to examine how predators navigate recent large burns, with particular focus on habitat features and the spatial configuration (e.g., distance to edge) that enabled lynx use of these transformed landscapes. We coupled GPS location data of lynx in Washington in an area with several recent large fires and a number of GIS layers of habitat data to develop models of lynx habitat selection in recent burns.

 Random Forest habitat models showed lynx-selected islands of forest skipped by large fires, residual vegetation, and areas where some trees survived to use newly burned areas. Lynx used burned areas as early as 1 year postfire, which is much earlier than the 2–4 decades postfire previously thought for this predator.

A mosaic of burnt, regenerating and historical forest in
Washington State

These findings are encouraging for predator persistence in the face of fires, but increasingly severe fires or management that reduces postfire residual trees or slow regeneration will likely jeopardize lynx and other predators. Fire management should change to ensure heterogeneity is retained within the footprint of large fires to enable viable predator populations as fire regimes worsen with climate change.

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