Forest & Land
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Modeling the future of wildlife populations
Climate change and loss of biological diversity are some of the great challenges facing the world today. Using natural resources for agriculture, mining, forestry, industrial processes, or other developments can have positive and negative effects on the environment. Our goal is to gather knowledge on life history, ecology, and the status of wildlife populations to predict their responses to future changes in their environment.
The process uses the wealth of information that exists on our natural environment such as habitat, landscape mosaics, and climate to predict how wildlife species will respond to future scenarios of changes in the environment. The predictions apply mathematical and statistical models to visually display results and to identify alternative management strategies that can reduce or eliminate undesirable effects.
Collectively “wildlife” includes a vast array of species from the smallest critters found in soil or water to large birds and mammals such as bald eagles and moose. Substantial research in northern ecosystems has placed emphasis on amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles in terrestrial environments because they are of interest to the public, they are relatively cost-effective to study, and they are important indicators of natural and human-related environmental change. Because of the scientific expertise and methods needed to study these groups, NRRI has divided wildlife research into two major groups, though researchers often work together on many critical issues: