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Ungulate-adapted forestry shows promise for alleviating pine browsing damage

Loosen, Anne E. and Devineau, Olivier and Skarpe, Christina and Zimmermann, Barbara and Cromsigt, Joris and Mathisen, Karen Marie (2021). Ungulate-adapted forestry shows promise for alleviating pine browsing damage. Forest Ecology and Management. 482 , 118808
[Research article]

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High densities of ungulates can increase human-wildlife conflicts. Where forestry is an important economy, intensive browsing can lead to browsing damage, resulting in volume losses, poor stand regeneration, and reduced timber quality. The forestry industry thus looks for practical, long-term measures to mitigate browsing damage. We tested the effect of two mitigation measures on moose (Alces alces) browsing behaviour and damage to Scots pine (Pinus sylvetris): (1) ungulate-adapted slash piles (i.e., palatable species only) created during felling to increase short-term food availability and (2) intensified soil scarification to increase long-term food availability (collectively, 'ungulate-adapted forestry'). Our study occurred in southern Norway where we established fixed vegetation and moose faecal pellet plots at varying distances from conventional and ungulate-adapted slash piles and scarified stands. We evaluated the effects of ungulate-adapted slash piles and intensified scarification on the density of undamaged Scots pine, moose bite diameters, browsing pressure, and moose faecal pellet density. To assess the effect of spatial scale, we created 250 m, 500 m, and 1000-m radius buffers centered on each plot. We found that ungulate-adapted logging near our plots increased the density of undamaged pines, as compared to no and conventional logging. We found that logging in general led to smaller bite diameters. We also found that plots near conventional logging had higher browsing pressure, whereas browsing pressure near ungulate-adapted logging was similar to unlogged stands. For scarification, density of undamaged pine increased when the ungulate-adapted stand aged whereas undamaged pine decreased as conventional scarification stands aged. Browsing pressure showed a response at the smallest spatial scale only for ungulate-adapted scarification. Peak moose habitat use near conventional and ungulate-adapted scarified stands differed by stand age and distance from scarification. The overall effects of ungulate-adapted forestry were most pronounced at the smallest spatial scale (250 m). Our results support 'ungulate-adapted' forestry as a practical solution to mitigate browsing damage but uncertainty in some of our estimates suggest further research on the area treated is needed.

Authors/Creators:Loosen, Anne E. and Devineau, Olivier and Skarpe, Christina and Zimmermann, Barbara and Cromsigt, Joris and Mathisen, Karen Marie
Title:Ungulate-adapted forestry shows promise for alleviating pine browsing damage
Series Name/Journal:Forest Ecology and Management
Year of publishing :2021
Article number:118808
Number of Pages:15
Publication Type:Research 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 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Forest Science
Keywords:Alces alces, Browsing damage, Diversionary feeding, Functional response, Supplemental feeding, Ungulates
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Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000617958400005
ID Code:22750
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:11 Mar 2021 17:04
Metadata Last Modified:11 Mar 2021 17:11

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