Alberta Map
Alberta Map

Introduction

Over its decade-plus of operations, the ABMI has generated a comprehensive dataset on Alberta’s species, their habitats, and the extent and type of human footprint across the province. With this information, the ABMI has developed analyses to predict species' relative abundances and examine species' responses to vegetation and soil types, as well as human footprint in Alberta. These methods have been applied to hundreds of species; this profile provides summary results for one.

Habitat & Human Footprint Associations

Moose are generalist browsers of woody deciduous shrubs and use a wide variety of open habitats in the summer for foraging, such as burns, harvested areas, riparian areas, and shrublands. These habitats are often in close proximity to forest edges or water to minimize heat stress. Moose also frequent wetlands and lake margins where they forage for salt-rich, submerged vegetation. In the winter, mature/old forests with good snow interception interspersed with open areas with extensive shrub growth jointly provide bedding sites, thermal cover, security cover and foraging habitat.

Species-habitat Associations in the Forested Region

Forested Region - Species Habitat Association Graph: Predicted species relative abundance (bars) as a function of vegetation and human footprint type in the forested region. Dots are added to forest types where harvesting occurs and show the predicted species abundance in cutblocks of various ages. Vertical lines represent 90% confidence intervals.

  • Based on winter snow-tracking data, Moose occur in all vegetation and human footprint types in the forested region.
  • Moose relative abundance is highest in young harvested White Spruce, Pine, deciduous, and mixedwood stands, and declines with forest age in these harvested stands
  • In forested stands originating from natural disturbances, relative abundance increases with forest age in all forest types.

Species-habitat Associations in the Prairie Region

Non-Treed Sites in the Prairie Region

Non-Treed Sites in the Prairie Region

Treed Sites in the Prairie Region

Treed Sites in the Prairie Region

Prairie Region - Species Habitat Association Graph: Predicted species relative abundance (bars) in each soil type and human footprint type in the prairie region. Vertical lines indicate 90% confidence intervals. The presence/absence of trees greatly affects the presence and abundance of many species; therefore, separate figures are presented for treed and non-treed sites in the prairie region.

  • Moose relative abundance is slightly greater at treed compared to non-treed sites in the prairie region.
  • Moose relative abundance is highest at sites with productive, clay and saline soil types in the prairie region.
  • Its relative abundance is very low at sites dominated by urban/industry human footprint.

Relationship to Linear Footprint


Relationship to Linear Footprint in the Forest Region



Linear Footprint Graph: Species relative abundance predicted for habitat with no human footprint compared to habitat in which 10% of the area is converted to either soft or hard linear footprint.

  • Moose relative abundance is predicted to have slight positive relationship with soft linear footprint and a slight, negative relationship with hard linear footprint in the forested region.

Relationship to Linear Footprint in the Prairie Region



Linear Footprint Graph: Species relative abundance predicted for habitat with no human footprint compared to habitat in which 10% of the area is converted to either soft or hard linear footprint.

  • Moose relative abundance is predicted to have no relationship with soft linear footprint and a slight, negative relationship with hard linear relationship in the prairie region.

Impacts of Human Footprint

Moose preference for early successional habitat for foraging, and their use of forest edges means that they are positively impacted by development activites that create these habitats, such as forest harvesting. 

Human Footprint Effects in the Forested Region

Human Footprint Effects in the Forested Region

Sector effect graph: Changes to species relative abundance (number above or below bar) attributed to the footprint of five sectors: agriculture, forestry, energy, rural/urban footprint, and transportation. The y-axis shows the percent population change per unit area of the sector's footprint. The x-axis shows the total area occupied by each sector's footprint in the region. The areas of the sector-specific rectangle (equal to the unit effect multiplied by the area of footprint) is the total effect of the sector on the species relative abundance in the region.

  • The rural / urban and agriculture human footprints have the largest negative unit effects on Moose in the forested region, but because these footprints cover small areas, this results in small predicted declines in Moose relative abundance compared to reference conditions. 

Human Footprint Effects in the Prairie Region

Human Footprint Effects in the Prairie Region

Sector effect graph: Changes to species relative abundance (number above or below bar) attributed to the footprint of five sectors: agriculture, forestry, energy, rural/urban footprint, and transportation. The y-axis shows the percent population change per unit area of the sector's footprint. The x-axis shows the total area occupied by each sector's footprint in the region. The areas of the sector-specific rectangle (equal to the unit effect multiplied by the area of footprint) is the total effect of the sector on the species relative abundance in the region.

  • Due to its large area, the agriculture human footprint has a large predicted negative impact on Moose relative abundance compared to reference conditions in the prairie region.

Predicted Relative Abundance

Moose are found throughout Alberta but are most common in the Boreal Forest and Foothills Natural Regions.

Reference Conditions

  • The reference condition shows the predicted relative abundance of the Moose after all human footprint had been backfilled based on native vegetation in the surrounding area.

Current Conditions

  • The current condition is the predicted relative abundance of the Moose taking current human footprint (circa 2012) into account.

Difference Conditions

  • Moose relative abundance is predicted to be lower under current conditions compared to reference conditions throughout the Parkland Natural Region and portions of the Boreal Forest Natural Region, particularly around urban areas such as Edmonton, Fort McMurray, High Level and Grande Prairie.
  • Their relative abundance is predicted to be higher under current conditions in the Foothills Natural Region and parts of the Boreal Forest Natural Region when compared to reference conditions.

References & Credits

References & Credits

Alberta Environment and Parks. 2016. Moose http://aep.alberta.ca/fish-wildlife/human-wildlife-conflict/moose.aspx Accessed September 17, 2016.

Belovsky, G. E. 1981. Food plant selection by a generalist herbivore: the moose. Ecology 62(4):1020-1030.

Neumann, W., G. Ericsson, H. Dettki, and V. C. Radeloff. 2013. Behavioural response to infrastructure of wildlife adapted to natural disturbances. Landscape and Urban Planning 114:9-27.

Pattie, D. and C. Fisher. 1999. Mammals of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing, Edmonton, AB.

Data Sources

Data collected by ABMI.

Photo Credits

Photos: TBD

Recommended Citation

Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute. 2018. Moose (Alces alces). ABMI Website: abmi.ca/home/data-analytics/biobrowser-home/species-profile?tsn=180703.

Additional ABMI Resources

Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute. 2016. ABMI Species Website Manual, Version: 2016-12-02. Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, Alberta, Canada. Report available at: abmi.ca.

Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute. 2014. Manual for Species Modeling and Intactness, Version 2014-09-25. Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, Alberta, Canada. Report available at: abmi.ca.

Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute. 2014. Terrestrial field data collection protocols (abridged version) 2016-05-18. Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, Alberta, Canada. Report available at: abmi.ca.

Download ABMI Species and Habitat Data.

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