How does species density affect activity patterns of three sympatric ungulate species in a Scandinavian boreal forest?
Abstract: Ungulate management becomes more complex when new species are being introduced and favorable habitats are created by commercial forestry and other forms of land use, resulting in increasing populations. Climate change is also affecting their distributions by altering their ability to spread from their historical range. Management to prevent forest damages, crop damages, vehicle collisions, meet hunting interests and successful conservation programs needs further understanding of how these new emerging ungulate communities function and how they affect their environment. Speed of movement as a measure of activity has been used in previous studies to understand animal behavior, habits or responses to different habitat, climatic or anthropogenic disturbances. In this work I investigate speed as a measure of ungulate activity in response to other species densities and habitat features in an area located in northern Sweden consisting of a heterogeneous landscape of agricultural land, urban area and coniferous forests. I used telemetry data originated from GPS-collars fitted to moose, roe deer and red deer to model speed in response to season of the year, habitat type, species density and time of day using linear mixed models (LMM). Density maps were developed from pellet counts and camera trap data in the study area. Habitat features were obtained from the Swedish Surveying Agency (Lantmäteriet). Modeling the different species’ daily activity revealed that roe deer and red deer had similar morning and evening activity regardless of season and habitat. Moose however were more active during evening hours regardless of season and habitat. Roe deer were more active in areas with low and medium densities of moose whilst no significant results of moose and red deer activity being affected by densities of other species were observed. Furthermore, red and roe deer were more active during night in contrast to moose who were less active. Season of the year had an effect on all species activities and wetland had an effect on roe and red deer activity. In contrast, moose were more active in open areas and clear cuts.
AT THIS PAGE YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE ESSAY. (follow the link to the next page)