Presented by: Melanie Dickie
White-tailed deer have become increasingly common within caribou range in northern Alberta, and have been linked with an increase in wolf densities. Previous studies have speculated that habitat alteration and climate change will combine to influence deer and caribou populations. However, the relative contributions of these impacts are difficult to quantify, primarily because climate and landscape alteration co-vary across much of Canada – winters become more severe and lands less altered by humans at increasing latitudes. In spite of decades of research on caribou and the species implicated in caribou declines, a study design in which gradients in landscape alteration and climate are replicated across large areas has not been available because of inherent confounds across space and time. We will present preliminary results from our work in progress that leverages the contrast in anthropogenic habitat alteration between Alberta and Saskatchewan to disentangle the influence of climate, habitat productivity, and human habitat alteration on white-tailed deer densities using camera traps.