Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program:
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources


Effects of Forest Management and Wildfire Disturbance on Grizzly Bears

January 2023 - January 2029


Participating Agencies

Over past centuries, habitat loss and degradation contributed to declines of grizzly bears in the contiguous US, including in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE). The NCDE has a long history of both industrial logging and wildlife suppression. Today, due to decades of increasing fuel loads, wildfire is the dominant source of disturbance in the NCDE. The effects of wildfire and timber harvest on grizzly bears are only partially understood, and both positive and negative effects have been identified. Further research is needed to understand the effects of these disturbances on this threatened species. We are working closely on this project with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Forest Service, and other collaborators. Through habitat suitability modeling and movement modeling, we will investigate how grizzly bears respond to timber harvest and wildfire to better understand their effects. Our work will inform forest management practices in the Northern Rockies.