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1 February 2010 Comparative Space Use and Habitat Selection of Moose Around Feeding Stations
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Abstract

The practice of feeding cervids in winter, either as a supplement to enhance nutritional status or to divert animals away from roads, railways, or vulnerable habitats, is rising noticeably. Moose (Alces alces) densities in Scandinavia are currently at historically high levels, resulting in amplified damage to economically important young Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) forest stands. Nevertheless, there is limited information as to how diversionary feeding affects herbivore space use and habitat selection. We followed 32 female moose marked with Global Positioning System collars to evaluate 1) if feeding stations serve as attraction points to the extent that habitat-selection patterns resemble those of central-place foragers (i.e., high usage and more uniform selection close to the attraction point), and 2) if moose using feeding sites select young pine stands less than those not using feeding sites. Moose that used diversionary forage concentrated their space use around feeding stations and selected habitats as predicted for a central-place forager with a decreasing probability of using areas away from feeding sites and a low degree of habitat selectivity close to feeding sites. However, moose that used feeding sites continued to select young pine stands to the same extent as moose that did not use feeding sites. Feeding sites were, therefore, not successful in diverting moose away from valuable natural browse, so we recommend wildlife managers establish feeding sites in sacrifice areas where moose browsing is permissible and, if possible, >1 km from young pine plantations.

Floris M. van Beest, Leif Egil Loe, Atle Mysterud, and Jos M. Milner "Comparative Space Use and Habitat Selection of Moose Around Feeding Stations," Journal of Wildlife Management 74(2), 219-227, (1 February 2010). https://doi.org/10.2193/2009-109
Published: 1 February 2010
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