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Recreation reduces tick density through fine-scale risk effects on deer space-use

Mols, B. and Churchill, J. E. and Cromsigt, Joris and Kuijper, D. P. J. and Smit, C. (2022). Recreation reduces tick density through fine-scale risk effects on deer space-use. Science of the Total Environment. 839 , 156222
[Research article]

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Abstract

Altered interactions between pathogens, their hosts and vectors have potential consequences for human disease risk. Notably, tick-borne pathogens, many of which are associated with growing deer abundance, show global increasing prevalence and pose increasing challenges for disease prevention. Human activities can largely affect the patterns of deer space-use and can therefore be potential management tools to alleviate human-wildlife conflicts. Here, we tested how deer space-use patterns are influenced by human recreational activities, and how this in turn affects the spatial distribution of the sheep tick (Ixodes ricinus), a relevant disease vector of zoonoses such as Lyme borrelioses. We compared deer dropping and questing tick density on transects near (20 m) and further away from(100 m) forest trails that were either frequently used (open for recreation) or infrequently used (closed for recreation, but used by park managers). In contrast to infrequently used trails, deer dropping density was 31% lower near (20 m) than further away from (100 m) frequently used trails. Similarly, ticks were 62% less abundant near (20 m) frequently used trails compared to further away from (100 m) these trails, while this decline in tick numbers was only 14% near infrequently used trails. The avoidance by deer of areas close to human-used trails was thus associated with a similar reduction in questing tick density near these trails. As tick abundance generally correlates to pathogen prevalence, the use of trails for recreation may reduce tick-borne disease risk for humans on and near these trails. Our study reveals an unexplored effect of human activities on ecosystems and how this knowledge could be potentially used to mitigate zoonotic disease risk.

Authors/Creators:Mols, B. and Churchill, J. E. and Cromsigt, Joris and Kuijper, D. P. J. and Smit, C.
Title:Recreation reduces tick density through fine-scale risk effects on deer space-use
Series Name/Journal:Science of the Total Environment
Year of publishing :2022
Volume:839
Article number:156222
Number of Pages:9
Publisher:ELSEVIER
ISSN:0048-9697
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 > 405 Other Agricultural Sciences > Fish and Wildlife Management
Keywords:Ixodes ricinus, Tick-borne pathogens, Human-induced fear, Cascading effects, Ecology of fear, Lyme disease
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-118695
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-118695
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.156222
Web of Science (WoS)000833543400005
ID Code:28740
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:02 Sep 2022 08:27
Metadata Last Modified:02 Sep 2022 08:31

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