Forest Wildlife Population and Research Group

Mike Larson, Group Leader

1201 E Hwy 2
Grand Rapids, MN 55744
tel. 218-999-7933
fax 218-327-4181

The role of the Forest Wildlife Populations and Research Group is to provide inventory information on wildlife populations, project how populations will respond to management, and develop a better understanding of how populations are impacted by changes in their environment.

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The forests of northern Minnesota create their own special blend of problems for wildlife managers and it is the responsibility of this group to help solve these problems.

Important wildlife species such as white-tailed deer, moose, black bear, grouse and furbearers are particularly difficult to inventory because of the enormous area they inhabit and the difficulty in observing these species in a forested environment. For these reasons, most species are monitored with a combination of surveys and computer simulation models. The group is responsible for designing and coordinating all surveys and analyzing the results. They have developed population models for most species that allow wildlife managers to project the outcome of specific management practices.

The ecosystems inhabited by wildlife are not static and the group conducts research to better understand how wildlife responds to its changing environment. The winters of 1995-96 and 1996-97, for example, were two of the of the most severe on record and research by the group was instrumental in understanding how deer responded. This research will provide long term information on how deer respond to increased logging on their winter range. The group is internationally famous for its work on black bear population dynamics and methods for managing and studying bear are used throughout the world.