The relation between climate and abundance cycles in barrenland caribou herds, NWT.
Principal Investigator: Zalatan, Rebecca (2)
Licence Number: 13820
Organization: University of British Columbia
Licenced Year(s): 2005
Issued: Jun 06, 2005
Project Team: G.H.R. Hen

Objective(s): Caribou populations fluctuate over long time spans. However, long-term records of population cycles are scarce. Dendrochronology and hoof scars left on the surficial roots of spruce trees across caribou trails will be used to reconstruct the population dynamics of the barrenground caribou herds across the Northwest Territories. Once the population dynamics of the herds is determined, correlating any changes in this index to climate fluctuations will be the next objective. Using dendrochronology, the researchers will determine the climate of the region from the annual growth rings of the spruce trees. It is likely that any climatic events, climate changes or coarse-scale climatic cycles will affect caribou populations. The use of caribou hoof scars to reconstruct caribou populations makes this project unique and essential to northern research. The reconstructed abundance of caribou populations will be complementary to the use of traditional knowledge on historic abundance and it will be useful in harvest management. This is the third year of a four-year study.