Scientific Research in RMBR

Science – Whats Going On?

Have you ever wondered what was going on when you pass the group of trucks parked on the side of the road, people with clipboards and bags of equipment? Or perhaps you have had someone call or knock on your door asking questions about the land you own and your particular landscape, ecosystem, or the water, animals, plants, birds, or insects in your area? What happens to all that information? How do you find out what research is going on in your backyard? In your biosphere reserve?

Find a list of the majority of the research that has been done within Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve here. Note that this may not include all the research done by various agencies but it does give a good overview of the types of research that has been done.

2016 Research Projects

Public Attitudes and Intentions in Response to Bear Smart Messaging Strategies – Lynnea Parker

“Human-black bear (Ursus americanus) conflicts have a tendency to occur where human populations have expanded into rural areas (Carlos, Bright, Teel, & Vaske, 2009; Campbell, 2012; Barrett, Telesco, Barrett, Widness, & Leone, 2014). Over the last several decades, recovery of black bear populations from historically low numbers has lead to a corresponding rise in conflict prevalence across North America (Campbell, 2012). Unsustainable hunting practices prior to the mid twentieth century had resulted in black bear population collapses (Campbell, 2012). Human encroachment into rural areas, combined with stable or increasing black bear populations, have lead to public safety concerns in Manitoba Canada, and across North America in general (Carlos et al., 2009; Obbard et al.,2014).

Conflicts in residential settings occur when bears develop negatively perceived behaviors of attraction, food conditioning, and habituation (Smith, Herrero, & DeBruyn, 2005; Barrett et al., 2014). Attraction occurs when a positive stimulus such as food, shelter, or security is found on a residential property (Whittaker & Knight, 1998). A food conditioned behavior is formed after a bear associates human presence with a potential source of food (Smith et al., 2005). Lastly, habituation is a loss of natural fear associated with human presence (Whittaker & Knight, 1998). A bear that expresses these behaviors is often referred to as a “problem bear” by wildlife managers.”

Regarding the Ecological and First Nations Perspective of the Role of Bison in the Riding Mountain Region – Maureen Twovoice

“Ecological roles of bison and other herbivores is limited considering the literature produced on this subject is suppressed. These species are equipped with not only ecological information but are greatly imbedded in First Nation traditional knowledge. Incorporating both aspects in regards to the livelihoods of bison will result in a better understanding as to how significant these species are to the ecosystem and within First Nation communities.”

The Intersection of Ecology and Economy in Protected Area Regions: A Case Study of the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve

“As a signatory to the Convention on Biodiversity, Canada has committed to increasing its networks of terrestrial and marine protected areas. If we are to achieve this objective, further thought must be given to the ways in which protected areas interact with their surrounding communities. How can protected areas work with nearby communities to increase economic viability without compromising a region’s ecological integrity? Which tools can decision makers use to identify promising avenues of economic opportunity? How can protected areas remain accountable to the rural municipalities with which they share a boundary?

These are the kinds of questions a researcher from Sir Wilfrid Laurier University intends to explore for her master’s thesis. Over July and August, she hopes to collect data through surveys and mapping activities from individuals who work or live within the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve. The surveys and mapping activities are designed to gather local opinions on economic potential and threats within the region. Participation in the research takes no longer than one hour and can be done at a time and place convenient to the participant. ”


Other Research

If you would like to add a link to  your research that has been or is being conducted within the Biosphere Reserve please contact Valerie at