We sit down with Dr. Ford and talk conservation. He is an Associate Professor of Biology at UBC Okanagan in the Faculty of Science.
Dr. Ford leads the Wildlife Restoration Ecology Lab (WiRE Lab) for UBC-O. Across the Earth, human modification of the environment has never been so widespread as it is today. As a result, many populations of Canada’s most recognizable wildlife – caribou, elk, deer, wolves, bears – are declining. Many of these declines are occurring because people have altered the types of interactions that occur between species: the links in the food chain are broken. To counter these impacts, restoration ecology has emerged as one of the most important disciplines in the life sciences. Restoration also forms the backbone of environmental legislation in Canada. If restoration is to succeed, scientists must develop and translate new knowledge of how people affect the outcome of species interactions.
The Wildlife Restoration Ecology Lab (WiRE Lab) is addressing the impact of human activity on the interactions among large predators (wolves, bears, cougars), their prey (deer, elk), and plants, in human-modified landscapes.We use a combination of field experiments, GPS tracking, computer models, and satellite imagery to bring together the ecology of individuals, populations, and communities. Specifically, we are investigating how forestry practices, urban growth, human-wildlife conflict, and highways not only change species abundance, but the manner in which these species move through the landscape and interact with one another. The WiRE Lab also works at the nexus of research and policy to help inject science into the decision making process.
You will enjoy this candid discussion with Dr. Ford and learn more about the important role academia is playing in modern wildlife management. He also sits on the Province of BC’s Minister’s Wildlife Advisory Committee and the Provincial Hunting and Trapping Advisory Team.