Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24• CLIMATE By Marne Kaske, 1854 Treaty Authority Moose to walleye, tribes lea Mooz (Alces alces) is an iconic species to Minnesota’sArrowhead region. When graced with a glimpse of these majestic creatures in the flesh, it is quite breathtaking. It leaves one silent and speechless for a moment, and without explanation the phrase “as big as a moose” all seems to make sense. It is no joke that the size and stature of these individuals is sym- bolic of their ecological and cultural significance on the landscape. The current range of the core Minnesota moose population lies almost entirely within the boundaries of the 1854 Ceded Territory, and because 400-700 pounds of meat can be harvested from one animal to feed a whole community, moose serves as an emblem for subsistence harvest and treaty-reserved resources in northeastern Minnesota. The 1854 TreatyAuthority puts substantial emphasis on managing treaty resources that tribal members traditionally reply upon. Managing for moose is a high priority. Recent declines in the moose population coupled with signs and projections of a warming climate for the region has led to concerns about their long-term future in the Ceded Territory. As wildlife biologists investigate and try to further our understand- ing of the challenges facing moose, they find that many strands of a complex web regulating the moose population are either strengthened or weakened as the result of climate change. Since 2002, 1854 Treaty Authority has collaborated with the Grand Portage Band, Bois Forte Band, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, University of Minnesota, National Park Service, Minnesota Zoo, and other groups to conduct research and monitor the moose population. Biological and geographical data from over 200 collared individuals has aided in drawing conclusions and will continue to provide baseline information on reproduction and survival rates, non-hunting mortal- ity, habitat use, and the general movement of individuals. While continuing to assist partners on research projects, 1854 Treaty Authority has recently focused its moose management efforts to evaluating moose habitat use and availability for forage, or “moose food.” This critical area of research will almost certainly impact the composition, distribution, and quality of vegetation sustaining our moose. Moose utilization of changing habitat There are a variety of landscape disturbances that create moose foraging habitat. Mechanical timber management techniques such as timber harvest, shearing, and prescribedfirecancreateandenhancemooseforaginghabitat.Likewise,wildfireand windstorms are natural disturbances creating habitat for moose to forage in. Areas with these types of disturbances are evaluated for moose utilization at different time scales,likehowsoonafteradisturbanceanareacanproducesuitableforaginghabitat, and for how long an area can sustain its foraging suitability. Starting with a general knowledge of what moose require in relatively early successional forage (i.e., few years after a timber cut), 1854 Treaty Authority wildlife biologists are investigating what species of vegetation moose are eating over different seasons, which tree and shrub species respond quickly to varying types of forest management, and for what period of time each of these species are important. For instance, the data is suggest- ing that birch happens to be a yummy moose treat if between the height of .5 and 3 meters high. The investigation of disturbance and succession will result in data needed to inform land managers of what is needed to maintain appropriate moose foraging habitat on the changing landscape. Climate effects support species competition and parasitism Not only will a shift in seasonal climate effect the types and abundance of vegetation on the landscape, it will also open the opportunity for different species to roam about. Historically there were few deer or moose in Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region. Oral history tells us there were more caribou on the landscape. Logging and settlement made conditions more favorable for moose, and now a variety of factors are favoring white-tailed deer over moose.As the abundance of deer on the landscape grows, the overlap of deer and moose range can cause problems for moose. There is a higher prevalence of the parasites carried by whitetail deer expanding into moose range, taking a toll on their health. “Brainworm” (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis) is a nematode parasite infecting ungulate species (members of the deer family) in the northern temperateforests. Most commonly it is carried by whitetails, and although rarely negatively affecting deer it is problematic when it infests moose. Adult worms develop in deer and then shed larvae through deer fecal pellets. Gastropods (tiny land snails) encounter the larvae on the pellets, become infected, and serve as an intermediate host. When foraging moose accidentally ingest infected snails, the larvae develop into adult worms that often cause neurological issues by damaging the central nervous system. Liver flukes (Fascioloides magna) are also carried by whitetail deer and move through gastropod species as intermediate hosts and ultimately to moose. While liver flukes are generally not thought to be fatal for moose, heavy infestations can significantly reduce liver function by leaving scar tissue and result in chronic poor body condition. This is particularly important as expected trends in climate change are generally favorable for deer and parasites they carry. As our partners in wildlife management work to get a better understanding of deer and moose habitat overlap, 1854 Treaty Authority is investigating the presence of both brainworm and liver fluke parasites in whitetail deer to better understand transmission vectors between species. Both of these parasites can be confirmed by (see Moose research, page 15) Bull moose. (Brian Borkholder photo) MAZINA’IGAN PAGE 12 Mooz (moose) research in a changing landscape 1854 Treaty Authority, partners seek clues to moose recovery An interagency group of biologists are collaborating on research to better understand the factors involved in the moose decline in northeast Minnesota. In hopes of helping create a turnaround, resource managers are considering logging techniques as a way improve moose health. (submitted photos)