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Forest fire’s influence on yellow hedysarum habitat and its use by grizzly bears in Banff National Park, Alberta

Author(s): David Hamer
Year Published: 1999
Description:

Hedysarum (Hedysarum spp.) roots are a primary food of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Front Ranges of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I studied the effects of recent forest fire on yellow hedysarum (H. sulphurescens) habitat by comparing root density, mass, fibre content, ease of digging, and use by grizzly bears in and adjacent to two prescribed burns that were conducted in Banff National Park, Alberta, in 1986 (Cascade Valley) and 1990 (Panther Valley). Digging was 12–14% easier in burned than in forested habitat. In the Cascade burn, yellow hedysarum roots were significantly more abundant and heavier than in the adjacent forest. This burn was intensively dug by grizzly bears between 1995 and 1997, but no diggings were found in the adjacent forest. In the Panther burn, no significant differences in root quality or mass were found. Bears dug few roots in the burn and did not dig in the adjacent forest. Their use of these two burns demonstrates prescribed fire’s potential to create important yellow hedysarum digging habitat for grizzly bears in Banff National Park.

Citation: Hamer D. 1999. Forest fire’s influence on yellow hedysarum habitat and its use by grizzly bears in Banff National Park, Alberta. Canadian Journal of Zoology 77: 1513-1520.
Topic(s): Fire Effects, Ecological - Second Order, Soils, Vegetation, Fire & Wildlife, Mammals, Carnivores
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 18221
Record updated: Oct 30, 2018