Articles written by Mark Ruby


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  • Wolverine Monitoring in Northwest Montana

    Mark Ruby, Wildlife Biologist, Swan Lake Ranger District|Mar 1, 2018

    Conservation managers devote a considerable amount of time and resources to preserving wildlife populations and balancing other land management values. This is understandable given the complexity of gathering information on complex ecological process or responses of wildlife populations or individuals to management practices. Gathering sufficient information on a rare carnivore such as the wolverine can add greater complexity, because this species exists at low densities and predominately occupy remote, inaccessible habitat. Over the past six...

  • Public Input is Important to USFS Land Management

    Mark Ruby, Swan Lake Ranger District|Jul 6, 2017

    The US Forest Service is an agency that uses teams of resource specialists to plan and implement management actions on the nation’s national forest lands. This planning and implementation relies heavily on public involvement at all stages. Without knowing the agency’s administrative process, public involvement or comment on agency actions can likely be frustrating or confusing. Overall, the Forest Service uses a framework to conduct all its official actions that is to say that the process for agency projects and gathering public inf...

  • The Story of the American Marten

    Mark Ruby, Swan Lake Ranger District|Jan 26, 2017

    The American marten is a very charismatic creature despite its small size. The house-cat sized member of the weasel family has short legs, pointed ears and a well-furred tail that extends to about a third of its total body length. Perhaps best characterized by a pale buff or orange patch on the throat or breast, the marten is typically 21-26 inches long and weighs about 1.5 to 2.75 pounds. Marten select for mesic closed-canopy stand types characterized by large tree diameters, plentiful coarse woody debris, snags and with a high degree of...

  • Stable Isotopes and Grizzly Bears in the NCDE

    Mark Ruby, Wildlife Biologist, Swan Lake Ranger District, USFS|Aug 25, 2016

    Bears are well known omnivores. They are animals that eat both plant and animal matter including insects, plant matter, berries, tree cambium, fish and red meat. At the North American scale, a high degree of available foods appear on the bear menu. Large salmon runs or even whale carcasses are available along the Alaskan Coast. Caribou range Northern Alberta. Huckleberries, whitebark pine, deer and elk litter the Rocky Mountains. Composition of diet has been shown by to affect physical size, reproductive potential and survival. Specifically for...

  • Genetic Diversity and NCDE Grizzly Bears

    Mark Ruby, Wildlife Biologist, Swan Lake Ranger District|Mar 17, 2016

    Genetic diversity of wildlife populations are an important consideration for long term conservation. Having a variety of genetic traits across a population is generally considered highly advantageous, as it allows a species a large toolbox of traits to respond to changes in environment, population size, mutation and other ecological, biological or social factors. Grizzly bears are no such exception and a closer look at bear reproductively and biology can yield some insight into how having genetic variability among individuals is an important...

  • Snag Some Habitat

    Mark Ruby, Wildlife Biologist - Swan Lake Ranger District|Nov 5, 2015

    Standing dead wood has incredible value to living things across western Montana’s forests. As fall stretches on and wood stoves burn more frequently, standing dead wood has high wildlife habitat value in addition to providing heat for homes. Forest snags provide denning, roosting and foraging habitat for hundreds of wildlife species. Often snags receive compounding use by forest vertebrates over time. Tall snags originally provide perching or nesting habitat while broken tops provide denning or resting for mammals. Cavities are continually e...

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