Scale Matters for Grizzly Bear Habitat

The types of habitat that grizzly bears frequent depends upon the scale measured. Stand level and multiple landscape unit scales each represent different bear habitat preferences. These scales correspond to stand and landscape level planning currently used in British Columbia.

Habitat selection is most pronounced at patches of 40 km² (160,000 ha). Bears hang out in landscapes of this size featuring either steeper slopes or steep slopes along with any combination of more avalanche chutes, more unlogged land, fewer roads and less trees.

Strong habitat selection tendencies also show up at a medium scale. Within a 15 km² area, grizzlies are densest in six km² portions containing higher elevations, possibly with fewer trees.


Vilis O. Nams, Garth Mowat and Michael A. Panian. 2006. Determining the spatial scale for conservation purposes - an example with grizzly bears. Biological Conservation. 128(1): 109-119.

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