Selection of Reserves for Woodland Caribou Using an Optimization Approach

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Habitat protection has been identified as an important strategy for the conservation of woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus). However, because of the economic opportunity costs associated with protection it is unlikely that all caribou ranges can be protected in their entirety. We used an optimization approach to identify reserve designs for caribou in Alberta, Canada, across a range of potential protection targets. Our designs minimized costs as well as three demographic risk factors: current industrial footprint, presence of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), and climate change. We found that, using optimization, 60% of current caribou range can be protected (including 17% in existing parks) while maintaining access to over 98% of the value of resources on public lands. The trade-off between minimizing cost and minimizing demographic risk factors was minimal because the spatial distributions of cost and risk were similar. The prospects for protection are much reduced if protection is directed towards the herds that are most at risk of near-term extirpation.

  • Date created
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International
  • Language
  • Additional contributors
  • Citation for previous publication