Development of modelling tools to address cumulative effects on summer range of the Bathurst Caribou Herd - A Demonstration Project

We summarize a Demonstration Project that was initiated to integrate different modeling tools and approaches for assessing cumulative effects on barren-ground caribou. Our approach was to integrate different types of information and link modeling techniques that have been used previously to explore habitat selection (resource selection functions), energetic intake and expenditure, and land-use dynamics and simulation, and to refine those tools for understanding cumulative effects of mines and other developments in the Bathurst caribou herd’s summer range. We also included results from a study of Dogrib (Tłı̨chǫ) Traditional Knowledge to add a longer-term perspective to the habitat selection assessment. Our goals were to: 1) modify, apply and integrate existing datasets and link modeling approaches for barren-ground caribou to show how the models can be applied as learning and decision support tools in northern Canada, and 2) develop a basis for collaborative learning about cumulative effects and barren-ground caribou with a broader group of people including representatives from governments, industry, and a co-management board. While we successfully integrated the different datasets and linked the models, our objectives were not to assess cumulative effects as such, but rather to demonstrate how it may be done in a collaborative and inter-disciplinary manner.<o:p></o:p>