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The rule is simple: The more roads, the less the bears will be

The speech of Canadian zoologist Clayton Lamb from the University of Alberta does not really have a shiny sentence. The childhood spent in the "wilderness" of Alberta in Canada and ten years of field research into the ecology of bears signed on. This is more difficult to describe complex processes in simple contexts.

"It's a simple math. The closer the bears are to humans, the more the situation is that the bears can prepare for life. Or even simpler: more roads mean fewer bears. "

Barrier of Monashee Mountains

Lamb's work has long been tied to bears, which in theory should have increased in the wooded area of ​​British Columbia in recent years. After many decades, they finally got the right kind of protection. However, their very gradual population growth does not match the original optimistic ideas. There is no way to reach a number of places where bears can now get away with fear. For example, to the Monashee Mountains, a 530-kilometer-long and 150-kilometer-wide mountain range, to become a new bear haven.

"A complicated factor here is a relatively dense network of forest paths,"
says Lamb. "The problem is affecting virtually all bears and roads across North America." Although British Columbia covers 940,000 square kilometers of area forests, but in some areas the transport network density is 0.6 per square kilometer.

This is explained in detail by Stan Boutin, a zoologist who participated with Lamb in collecting genetic material in the field. "It's not just that the bears are dying more in the vicinity of roads and roads. They are also actively trying to avoid trafficking, which effectively cuts off some areas with the potential to develop their populations from spreading. "

The Way to Save Bears? Fewer journeys

North American and Canadian biologists have been questioning the "insufficient distribution" of bears for a long time. For example, the bear population in the Okanagan region is growing promisingly, but they do not want to go to the adjacent Monashee Mountains. Roads, as a hindrance to spreading, were, of course, suspicious. Only Lamb, collecting their chips and documenting other bear traces, captured the "barrier effect" that the roads and roads represent.

"Assuming we really want to spread bears and stabilize their population, the solution is simple," says Boutin. "We can not make a forest from the forest paths until tomorrow, but we can at least close them for transport. That's probably the best we can do so far. And the result could be quite noticeable. " Closing a section of paths and diluting the transport network in forests is now the main goal of Alberta zoologists. "It's a small step on our side, but that can mean a lot for bears," says Lamb.

Author: Radomír Dohnal, Associate of

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