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Phantoms of the forest: legacy risk effects of a regionally extinct large carnivore

Sahlén, Ellinor and DePerno, Christopher S. and Noell, Sonja and Kindberg, Jonas and Spong, Göran and Cromsigt, Joris (2016). Phantoms of the forest: legacy risk effects of a regionally extinct large carnivore. Ecology and evolution. 6:3, 791-799
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Abstract

The increased abundance of large carnivores in Europe is a conservation success, but the impact on the behavior and population dynamics of prey species is generally unknown. In Europe, the recolonization of large carnivores often occurs in areas where humans have greatly modified the landscape through forestry or agriculture. Currently, we poorly understand the effects of recolonizing large carnivores on extant prey species in anthropogenic landscapes. Here, we investigated if ungulate prey species showed innate responses to the scent of a regionally exterminated but native large carnivore, and whether the responses were affected by human-induced habitat openness. We experimentally introduced brown bear Ursus arctos scent to artificial feeding sites and used camera traps to document the responses of three sympatric ungulate species. In addition to controls without scent, reindeer scent Rangifer tarandus was used as a noncarnivore, novel control scent. Fallow deer Dama dama strongly avoided areas with bear scent. In the presence of bear scent, all ungulate species generally used open sites more than closed sites, whereas the opposite was observed at sites with reindeer scent or without scent. The opening of forest habitat by human practices, such as forestry and agriculture, creates a larger gradient in habitat openness than available in relatively unaffected closed forest systems, which may create opportunities for prey to alter their habitat selection and reduce predation risk in human-modified systems that do not exist in more natural forest systems. Increased knowledge about antipredator responses in areas subjected to anthropogenic change is important because these responses may affect prey population dynamics, lower trophic levels, and attitudes toward large carnivores. These aspects may be of particular relevance in the light of the increasing wildlife populations across much of Europe.

Authors/Creators:Sahlén, Ellinor and DePerno, Christopher S. and Noell, Sonja and Kindberg, Jonas and Spong, Göran and Cromsigt, Joris
Title:Phantoms of the forest: legacy risk effects of a regionally extinct large carnivore
Series/Journal:Ecology and evolution (2045-7758)
Year of publishing :2016
Volume:6
Number:3
Page range:791-799
Number of Pages:9
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
ISSN:2045-7758
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
Agrovoc terms:predators
Keywords:anthropogenic change, antipredator response, brown bear, landscape of fear, predator-prey interactions, prey naivety, ungulates
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-3559
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-3559
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000369974900013
DOI10.1002/ece3.1866
ID Code:13483
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:11 Jul 2016 07:19
Metadata Last Modified:11 Jul 2016 07:19

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