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Food plots as a habitat management tool: forage production and ungulate browsing in adjacent forest

Månsson, Johan and Roberge, Jean-Michel and Edenius, Lars and Bergström, Roger and Nilsson, Lovisa and Lidberg, Maria and Komstedt, Karl and Ericsson, Göran (2015). Food plots as a habitat management tool: forage production and ungulate browsing in adjacent forest. Wildlife biology. 21:5, 246-253
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Abstract

A key challenge for wildlife management is to handle competing goals. High ungulate densities may be desirable from hunting and recreational perspectives, but may come in conflict with needs to limit or reduce browsing damage. Since browsing intensity is negatively related to forage availability it may be possible to mitigate damage on forest by increasing forage availability within the landscape. A commonly used method to increase the attractiveness of a localized part of the landscape is to establish food plots. In a multiyear setup using enclosures, wildlife observations, field surveys, and controlled biomass removal, we studied food plots to document forage production, utilization by ungulates, and browsing on adjacent forests in southern Sweden. The fenced parts of the food plots produced on average 2230 to 5810 kg ha. 1 marrow-stem kale, second-year clover mix or early-sown rapeseed. The biomass of target crops was generally higher within ungrazed (exclosures) compared to grazed (controls) quadrats on the food plots, which demonstrates that the crops were used as forage by ungulates. Browsing on deciduous trees in the adjacent forest was higher within 70-135 m from the food plots compared to areas further away. For wildlife management, our study shows that establishment of food plots provides substantial amounts of forage both during growing season and at the onset of the dormant season, and that a large share of this food is consumed. Finally, our study documents that forage availability for ungulates at the onset of the often-limiting dormant season can be increased by fencing food plots throughout the growing season.

Authors/Creators:Månsson, Johan and Roberge, Jean-Michel and Edenius, Lars and Bergström, Roger and Nilsson, Lovisa and Lidberg, Maria and Komstedt, Karl and Ericsson, Göran
Title:Food plots as a habitat management tool: forage production and ungulate browsing in adjacent forest
Series/Journal:Wildlife biology (0909-6396)
Year of publishing :2015
Volume:21
Number:5
Page range:246-253
Number of Pages:8
Publisher:BioOne
ISSN:0909-6396
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Refereed:Yes
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Forest Science
Keywords:Wildlife management
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-3172
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-3172
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000363668300002
DOI10.2981/wlb.00019
ID Code:12947
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology

(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:14 Jan 2016 12:18
Metadata Last Modified:28 Nov 2016 12:43

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