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Ecological Effects of Wolves in Anthropogenic Landscapes: The Potential for Trophic Cascades Is Context-Dependent

Ausilio, Giorgia and Sand, Håkan and Månsson, Johan and Mathisen, Karen Marie and Wikenros, Camilla (2021). Ecological Effects of Wolves in Anthropogenic Landscapes: The Potential for Trophic Cascades Is Context-Dependent. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 8 , 577963
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Abstract

In recent years, large predators have made a comeback across large parts of Europe. However, little is known about the impact that recolonizing predators may have on ecosystems with high degrees of anthropogenic influence. In Scandinavia, wolves (Canis lupus) now inhabit areas affected by intense forestry practices and their main prey, moose (Alces alces), are exposed to significant human hunting pressure. We used long-term datasets to investigate whether the return of wolves has affected moose distribution (i.e., presence and abundance) as well as browsing damage (i.e., presence and intensity) by moose on Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). We found that the probability of moose presence and abundance increased with time since wolf territory establishment and was higher inside wolf territories than outside. Additionally, the probability of browsing damage was also higher inside wolf territories compared to outside, but wolf occurrence had no effect on browsing damage intensity. We suggest two possible underlying mechanisms behind these results: (1) wolves might select to establish territories in areas with higher moose abundance, increasing their probability of encounters, and/or (2) hunters within wolf territories reduce the number of harvested moose to compensate for wolf predation. This study highlights that the return of large predators to landscapes with strong anthropogenic influence may result in alternative effects than those described in studies on trophic cascades located in protected areas.

Authors/Creators:Ausilio, Giorgia and Sand, Håkan and Månsson, Johan and Mathisen, Karen Marie and Wikenros, Camilla
Title:Ecological Effects of Wolves in Anthropogenic Landscapes: The Potential for Trophic Cascades Is Context-Dependent
Series Name/Journal:Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Year of publishing :2021
Volume:8
Article number:577963
Number of Pages:12
Publisher:FRONTIERS MEDIA SA
ISSN:2296-701X
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
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
Keywords:Canis lupus, Alces alces, Pinus sylvestris, pellet counts, browsing, predation, anthropogenic landscape, trophic cascade
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-110530
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-110530
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.3389/fevo.2020.577963
Web of Science (WoS)000609409700001
ID Code:22196
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:12 Feb 2021 10:16
Metadata Last Modified:12 Feb 2021 10:21

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