An assessment of the adequacy of baseline data relevant to the documentation and evaluation of the impacts of oil sands development on black bear in the AOSERP study area

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  • The objectives of this critique are to evaluate whether or not the state of baseline knowledge is adequate to assess the impacts of large developments on the black bear population in the AOSERP study area. This critique will further identify specific knowledge gaps for which information must be obtained to determine those baseline states. Documentation of the potential impacts of industrial developments on a black bear population requires two types of information: (1) information on black bear population dispersion (i.e., habitat use) will allow assessment of the change in population size that will occur as a result of habitat alteration, and (2) information on the effects of various types of potential impacts on black bear (i.e., habitat alteration, disturbance factors and direct mortality) will show the potential losses from each of these sources of perturbation. Evaluation of impacts requires information on black bear population dynamics. The assessment of black bear population data will identify the limits within which black bear population size may change without threatening the structural and functional integrity of the black bear population and thus the ecosystems. This information will show the surplus of animals available to additional mortality from habitat loss, disturbance and increased exploitation associated with any oil sands development which may occur in the AOSERP area.

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