Bears, salmon and forests: new research on old connections

Raincoast’s Dr. Caroline Fox and UVic’s Dr. Tom Reimchen have published a study examining bears, forests and trees in BMC Ecology.  The study examines the influence of salmon nutrients on the ancient Sitka spruce trees of Haida Gwaii.

In Haida Gwaii, black bears are the primary vector for delivering salmon and their nutrients into the forest.  The scientists found that (as expected) tree growth was greater in places where salmon carcasses were the highest. This tends to be along the river.  However, contrary to what one might think, the influence of salmon was greatest in trees that were further distances from the river and into the forest.  It suggests that salmon carried beyond the river’s edge – where most carcasses are eaten and decompose- get more benefit from the fewer fish and waste products of bears, than those closer to the river.

To download the article, visit: http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1472-6785-13-38.pdf

 

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