Cumulative effects of widespread landscape change alter predator-prey dynamics

Date

2022

Authors

Boucher, Nicole P.
Anderson, Morgan
Ladle, Andrew
Procter, Chris
Marshall, Shelley
Kuzyk, Gerald
Starzomski, Brian M.
Fisher, Jason T.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Scientific Reports

Abstract

Predator search efficiency can be enhanced by anthropogenic landscape change, leading to increased predator–prey encounters and subsequent prey population declines. Logging increases early successional vegetation, providing ungulate forage. This increased forage, however, is accompanied by linear feature networks that increase predator hunting efficiency by facilitating predator movement and increasing prey vulnerability. We used integrated step selection analyses to weigh support for multiple hypotheses representing the combined impact of logging features (cutblocks and linear features) on wolf (Canis lupus) movement and habitat selection in interior British Columbia. Further, we examine the relationship between logging and wolf kill-sites of moose (Alces alces) identified using spatiotemporal wolf location cluster analysis. Wolves selected for linear features, which increased their movement rates. New (0–8 years since harvest) cutblocks were selected by wolves. Moose killsites had a higher probability of occurring in areas with higher proportions of new and regenerating (9–24 years since harvest) cutblocks. The combined selection and movement responses by wolves to logging features, coupled with increased moose mortality sites associated with cutblocks, indicate that landscape change increases risk for moose. Cumulative effects of landscape change contribute to moose population declines, stressing the importance of cohesive management and restoration of anthropogenic features.

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Citation

Boucher, N. P., Anderson, M., Ladle, A., Procter, C., Marshall, S., Kuzyk, G., . . . Fisher, J. T. (2022). “Cumulative effects of widespread landscape change alter predator-prey dynamics.” Scientific Reports, 12(11692). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-15001-3