Reconnecting habitat for the Louisiana Black Bear. 

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Studio: LA 3001, LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture

Instructor: Forbes Lipschitz

Collaborators: Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

The studio focused on site design for a segment of Louisiana Highway 90 between Morgan City and Franklin, where Louisiana Black bears are routinely hit by vehicles. The conflict between growing bear populations and local communities is relatively recent phenomena. Louisiana black bears once roamed throughout Louisiana and into South Mississippi and East Texas, but by the 1950s, the distribution was profoundly reduced due to conversion of hardwood forests to croplands. The population dwindled to only 80 to 120 bears remaining in a tiny slice of the forested delta. State biologists in the 1960s brought 161 bears down from Minnesota as part of a restocking program, and by the 1990s, populations had become established in the Tensas River Basin, the upper Atchafalaya River Basin and the Lower Atchafalaya Basin.  As a result of successful conservation strategies, the region is inhabited by much larger populations of bear and other wildlife than were present a century ago. As local wildlife populations increase, so do human-wildlife conflicts. This studio will explored the potential of design to mitigate such conflicts, and, in so doing, improve both regional ecologies and communities alike.


Featured Student Researchers: Daniel Hernandez, Delaney McGuinness, Benton Williams, Seth Winkler and Lu Rai Yao