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Forage availability, supplementary feed and ungulate density: Associations with ungulate damage in pine production forests

Felton, Annika and Hedwall, Per-Ola and Felton, Adam and Widemo, Fredrik and Wallgren, Märtha and Wallgren, Martha and Holmström, Emma and Lofmarck, Erik and Malmsten, Jonas and Wam, Hilde Karine (2022). Forage availability, supplementary feed and ungulate density: Associations with ungulate damage in pine production forests. Forest Ecology and Management. 513 , 120187
[Research article]

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Abstract

Populations of large herbivores, including members of the deer family Cervidae, are expanding across and within many regions of the northern hemisphere. Because their browsing on trees can result in economic losses to forestry and strongly affect ecosystems, it is becoming increasingly important to understand how best to mitigate resultant damage. Previous research has highlighted the importance of regulating deer density and the availability of alternative forage to reduce browsing damage levels in conifer production stands. However, often only one or two proxies of forage availability have been used instead of applying a broad foodscape approach and more knowledge is needed to understand which types of alternative forage best mitigate damage. We conducted field inventories of damage that occurred during the previous fall/winter in 112 production stands in southern Sweden, while also measuring forage availability and cervid faecal pellets in the surrounding landscape (16 ha). Local landowners provided data on supplementary feeding. We found that variation in cervid (Alces alces, Capreolus capreolus, Cervus elaphus and Dama dama) browsing damage to top shoots or stems of young Scots pine trees (Pinus sylvestris, hereon pine), was better explained by the availability of alternative natural forage (using several indices and species of trees and shrubs) than by supplementary feeding. The proportion of damaged pine trees was higher in stands with a lower density of pine stems; in landscapes with a lower density of key broadleaf tree species (genera Sorbus, Salix, Populus and Quercus); and in landscapes with more open land (agricultural fields and paddocks). Damage was also higher in stands where relatively large amounts of moose faeces was found, while not related to the amount of faeces from other cervid species. The amount of supplementary feed (silage or other types such as root vegetables) did not explain variation in pine damage, but the result was possibly affected by relatively few study areas supplying sufficient data on supplementary feeding. The results from our inventory illustrate the efficacy of using naturally growing forage to mitigate browsing damage to young pine trees in managed landscapes. Creation of such forage is also recommended over supplementary feeding because of co-benefits to forest biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Authors/Creators:Felton, Annika and Hedwall, Per-Ola and Felton, Adam and Widemo, Fredrik and Wallgren, Märtha and Wallgren, Martha and Holmström, Emma and Lofmarck, Erik and Malmsten, Jonas and Wam, Hilde Karine
Title:Forage availability, supplementary feed and ungulate density: Associations with ungulate damage in pine production forests
Series Name/Journal:Forest Ecology and Management
Year of publishing :2022
Volume:513
Article number:120187
Number of Pages:11
Publisher:ELSEVIER
ISSN:0378-1127
Language:English
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
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
Keywords:Browsing, Deer, Moose, Forest management, Game management
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-117996
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-117996
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1016/j.foreco.2022.120187
Web of Science (WoS)000806102200004
ID Code:28595
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(S) > Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:26 Aug 2022 11:21
Metadata Last Modified:26 Aug 2022 11:31

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