Legend

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 harvested stands of various ages. Vertical lines represent 90% confidence intervals.

  • Moose relative abundance is highest in the grass and shrub vegetation types, followed by marsh, graminoid fen, and treed swamp vegetation types.
  • Moose relative abundance is also high in young mixedwood and mature deciduous stands in the forested region.
  • In general, Moose relative abundance is higher in young harvested stands compared to naturally disturbed stands of similar age in the forested region.

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 the same at treed and non-treed sites in the prairie region.
  • Moose relative abundance is highest in thin break and rapid drain soil types in the prairie region.

Relationship to Linear Footprint


Relationship to Linear Footprint in the Forested 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 a slight negative relationship with soft linear footprint and 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 a slight negative relationship with soft linear footprint and hard linear footprint 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 activities that create these habitats, such as forest harvesting. 

Human Footprint Effects in the Forested Region

Local Scale Effects

Human Footprint Effects in the Forested Region

Figure: Local Scale Effects. Predicted changes to Moose relative abundance inside areas that have been disturbed by each sector (human footprint type) compared to the habitat it replaced (modelled reference condition with no human footprint). Sector effect values less than 0% indicate habitat suitability is reduced (predicted related abundance is lower) compared to reference conditions, and values more than 0% indicate habitat suitability is improved (predicted relative abundance is higher) compared to reference conditions.

  • Moose relative abundance is predicted to be less abundant than expected in all human footprint types, except forestry, compared to the habitat each footprint replaces in the forested region.

Regional Population Effects

Human Footprint Effects in the Prairie Region

Figure: Regional Population Effects. Predicted change in the total regional population by industrial sector for Moose. This incorporates the area of the footprint, the native habitats where the footprint occurs, and the species response to a particular footprint. Regional population effect values less than 0% indicate a predicted decrease in the regional population due to a particular sector’s footprint, and values greater than 0% indicate a predicted increase.

  • The regional population of Moose is predicted to be less abundant than expected compared to reference conditions in the forested region as a result of agriculture footprint.
  • Changes in the regional population of Moose are predicted to be small for the other industrial sectors in the forested region.

Human Footprint Effects in the Prairie Region

Local Scale Effects

Human Footprint Effects in the Prairie Region

Figure: Local Scale Effects. Predicted changes to Moose relative abundance inside areas that have been disturbed by each sector (human footprint type) compared to the habitat it replaced (modelled reference condition with no human footprint). Sector effect values less than 0% indicate habitat suitability is reduced (predicted related abundance is lower) compared to reference conditions, and values more than 0% indicate habitat suitability is improved (predicted relative abundance is higher) compared to reference conditions.

  • Moose relative abundance is predicted to be less abundant than expected in all human footprint types, except forestry, compared to the habitat each footprint replaces in the prairie region.

Regional Population Effects

Human Footprint Effects in the Prairie Region

Figure: Regional Population Effects. Predicted change in the total regional population by industrial sector for Moose. This incorporates the area of the footprint, the native habitats where the footprint occurs, and the species response to a particular footprint. Regional population effect values less than 0% indicate a predicted decrease in the regional population due to a particular sector’s footprint, and values greater than 0% indicate a predicted increase.

  • The regional population of Moose is predicted to be less abundant than expected compared to reference conditions in the prairie region mostly as a result of agriculture footprint, and to a lesser extent transportation and urban/industrial footprints.
  • Changes in the regional population of Moose are predicted to be small due to energy and forestry footprints in the prairie region.

Predicted Relative Abundance

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

Predicted Relative Abundance - Current

The current condition is the predicted relative abundance of Moose taking current human footprint (circa 2018) into account.

use slider to compare maps


Predicted Relative
Abundance (%)

Predicted Relative
Abundance (%)

Predicted Relative Abundance - Reference

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


Predicted Relative Abundance - Difference

The difference map shows areas where the current relative abundance of Moose is predicted to be higher or lower compared to reference conditions. In other words, where habitat suitability is predicted to increase or decrease as a result of human footprint.


Predicted Change
in Relative
Abundance (%)
  • Moose relative abundance is predicted to be lower under current conditions compared to reference conditions throughout the Parkland and Grassland Natural Regions and portions of the Boreal Forest Natural Region.
  • Moose relative abundance is predicted to be higher under current conditions compared to reference conditions in scattered areas of the Foothills Natural Region.

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. 2020. 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.

View ABMI Collaborations.

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for testing profile: [{QALog=

Niki Wilson edited NL for copy and tone Jan-11-2017

Niki Wilson / John Wilmshurst Submitted April-30-2015

Niki Wilson / John Wilmshurst Published on April-30-2015

Niki Wilson / John Wilmshurst Unassigned on May-25-2020

SK updated results writing March-17-2021

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The Moose, the largest member of the deer family, is a wetland-loving resident of northern forests as well as treed river valleys in the mountains and prairies. Moose can be found in every natural region in Alberta.  

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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.

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

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

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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.

, Year=2020, Note=

Intro content carried over, interpretations updated.

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