Jason Fisher, Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures
White-tailed deer populations are widespread across Alberta’s boreal forest (Dawe et al. 2014). Although climate change has been suggested as a limiting factor (Dawe et al. 2014), our six-year research program in northeast Alberta has shown that deer distribution and population size remains stable in the boreal forest even after severe winters (Fisher et al. 2015). This strongly suggests that populations are being maintained by forage subsidies, such as early seral stage vegetation in disturbed areas (Fisher and Wilkinson 2005). Our research shows that deer distribution and persistence are positively related to anthropogenic features, including cutblocks and ‘block features’ (e.g. well sites) associated with oil and gas extraction (Fisher et al. 2015).
Moose, deer and predator use of anthropogenic features associated with oil and gas developments