Oil and gas infrastructure and the spatial pattern of grizzly bear habitat selection in Alberta, Canada

Karen Laberee, Trisalyn A. Nelson, Benjamin P. Stewart, Tracy McKay, Gordon B. Stenhouse

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

20 Scopus citations


Oil and gas development is increasing in areas of Alberta, Canada that are also home to threatened grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) populations. While impacts of forest disturbances on bears have been heavily studied, research on the impacts of oil and gas activities is limited. Our research goal was to test the hypothesis that grizzly bears select locations of oil and gas development randomly, using grizzly bear telemetry data collected from 2005 to 2010 in the Kakwa region of Alberta. Maps of probability of resource use by bears were generated and used to conditionally randomize telemetry data to classify bear locations as being closer, farther, or no different than expected from oil and gas features. Our results indicated that bears were generally observed closer to oil and gas features during spring. Adult males were farther than expected to all features during the summer season. During fall, adult females showed avoidance of all oil and gas features during the day, but were closer at night. Active wellsites were avoided by all bears in the fall, and roads were avoided more than pipelines. Spatial analysis and geographic information science are ideal tools for examining the influence of landscape features on wildlife.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages16
Specialist publicationCanadian Geographer
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Alberta
  • grizzly bear
  • habitat selection
  • oil and gas development
  • spatial pattern analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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