Effects of moose density and supplementary feeding on field layer vegetation
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English: Large mammalian herbivores have the potential to directly and indirectly affect the ecosystem they live in, such as plant structure and dynamics of vascular plants. The present study experimentally estimated the impact of moose density and moose feeding stations on field layer vegetation. The effects of browsing on the field layer vegetation horn moose feeding stations are somewhat unanswered, and there are few studies referring to this problem. Supplementary feeding of moose in winter will lead to concentration of direct and indirect effects of moose around feeding stations. Grazing and trampling are direct impacts of herbivores on vegetation, whereas indirect effects by moose include changed light interception from tree layers, higher decomposition rates and changed nutrient cycling and distribution. In this study, only indirect effects are investigated. Landowners have supplied moose with ensilage bales, and the moose is only subsequently feed with silage in winter. Percentage of tree seedlings, shrubs and vascular plant species were registered at different distance from moose feeding stations. Six plots were placed in clusters at 25, 50,100,200,500 and 1000 meters from the feeding station. Results show that moose feeding stations modified plant species composition and species richness along a gradient from the feeding station. A main effect of moose feeding station and moose density is a shift in field layer vegetation, where some species are more common at certain environmental conditions at different distances from feeding stations. This study highlights the effects of moose feeding stations on the environment in boreal forest, and will be relevant for landowners and wildlife biologist.
Master i anvendt økologi, Evenstad 2008