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Title:Designing against habitat loss: Facilitating movement of the Louisiana black bear
Author(s):Mathias, Lauren
Advisor(s):O'Shea, Conor E
Contributor(s):Reschke, Craig; Duquette, Jared
Department / Program:Landscape Architecture
Discipline:Landscape Architecture
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Louisiana black bear
Ursus americanus luteolus
habitat loss
climate change
wildlife design
landscape connectivity
wildlife migration
Abstract:To support the continued survival of the Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus), and preserve and protect the greater ecological communities of the bottomland hardwood forests that it occupies, this thesis proposes a catalog of design interventions that facilitate (1) the connectivity of Louisiana black bear subpopulations, (2) climate-related migration of the subspecies, and (3) more amicable coexistence of bears and humans. In May 2019, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released its Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, and it foretold of a grim future for wildlife worldwide. The report specifically noted human alteration of land and climate change as major factors contributing to ecosystem deterioration and biodiversity loss. This combination of factors is particularly relevant in the South-Central United States, where fertile soils have made cropland (namely soybean, corn, and cotton fields) a significant portion of the landscape, and rising temperatures and sea levels, coupled with extreme weather events, threaten to erase and further fragment any suitable habitats that do remain. The Louisiana black bear faces especially acute problems as a large mammalian predator, due to expansive spatial requirements and lack of eager reception by many humans. Its population has been reduced to around 750 and is exclusively found in four subpopulations in Louisiana, with this spatial isolation adding to the fragility of the subspecies as a whole. Though this culturally and ecologically important subspecies is no longer on the US Fish and Wildlife Service endangered species list, many believe that support and an active restructuring of landscapes is necessary to guarantee survival. As the Louisiana black bear is considered an umbrella species, conservation of it and its habitat would be beneficial to a wide array of species, including humans.
Issue Date:2020-05-13
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Lauren Mathias
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-08-26
Date Deposited:2020-05

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