Many of Canada’s most emblematic animals—like caribou, elk, deer, wolves and bears—are declining in number because human activity has altered the types of interactions that take place between species, breaking important links in the food chain. To help restore balance, Dr. Adam Ford, Canada Research Chair in Wildlife Restoration Ecology, is studying how people affect species interactions and ecological processes.
Ford and his research team are using field experiments, GPS tracking and satellite imagery to explore the impact of human activity on interactions between people, large predators (such wolves, bears and cougars), their prey (deer and elk), and plants in landscapes that have been altered by people. They are investigating how industry, infrastructure and human-wildlife conflict change species abundance as well as the way species move through the landscape and interact. Wildlife restoration ecology now forms the backbone of environmental legislation in Canada. This research will support Canada’s international commitments to conserve biodiversity and support reconciliation with Indigenous communities.