The province of New Brunswick is the located along the eastern coast of Canada bordering the province of Quebec to the north, and the U.S State of Maine to the west. The eastern boundary is surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean while also sharing a border with the province of Nova Scotia to the south (Government of New Brunswick, 2018). According to Statistics Canada (2017), New Brunswick has a population of 760, 868 predominantly situated throughout its 8 major urban cities: Bathurst, Campbellton, Dieppe, Edmundston, Fredericton, Miramichi, Moncton and Saint John. The province covers an area of 73, 440 km2, spanning 242 km east to west, and 322 km north to south, making it the largest Maritime Province (Government of New Brunswick, 2018).
New Brunswick is divided into 27 specific Wildlife Management Zones established to manage populations of deer, moose, bear and other furbearer species (GeoNB, 2013). A study conducted by Peek, Urich & Mackie (1979) indicates that moose are known to occupy post-fire habitats due to the high-quality forage that is available approximately 5 to 20 years after fire occurrences. For this reason, the Big Tracadie River Wildlife Management Zone (Zone 8) is chosen due to the abundance and extent of large-scale forest fires occurring within this region, prompting the need to investigate suitable areas for alternative moose habitats (Figure 1) (GeoNB, 2013). Zone 8 is situated in the Maritime Lowlands ecoregion where the climate offers warm summers and mild, snowy winters attributing to a mean annual temperature of approximately 5oC (Ecological Stratification Working Group, 1995). Land cover is characterized by dense mixed wood forest containing a variety of species like red spruce, balsam fir, red maple, hemlock, and eastern white pine, as well as extensive grassland and wetland areas. Since moose prefer vegetation found in young growth forests and tend to seasonally migrate based on nutritional needs, Zone 8 provides a variety of food sources for moose to choose from (Fisher & Wilkinson, 2005). Summertime ideally offers options like berries, wildflowers, lichen, ferns, and grass. While winter typically features leaves, twigs, and bark mainly from deciduous trees like balsam fir and red maple (Ecological Stratification Working Group, 1995). This region proves useful for moose in terms of both food and forest cover by providing variability in their diet while also providing sufficient shelter, creating an optimal environment for moose to thrive (Ecological Stratification Working Group, 1995).