Once subject to hunting for their meat and hides as well as trophy hunting, brown bear products are no longer in high commercial demand.
Although they are not listed as an endangered species, in some places they are under threat, such as Southwest Alaska, from the proposed construction of an open-pit gold and copper mine. In order to survive, bears need a large open range. Barriers to their movement and primary food source, salmon, could have a devastating effect.
Bears rely on large natural areas and as such are important management indicators for other wildlife species. In their predatory role, they help keep other animal populations in check and they also act as seed dispersers, thereby helping maintain the delicate balance of their environment.