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Country, cover or protection: what shapes the distribution of red deer and roe deer in the Bohemian Forest Ecosystem?

Heurich M, Brand TT, Kaandorp MY, Šustr P, Müller J, Reineking B - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: In contrast to our expectations, protection by national parks was the least important variable for red deer and the third important out of four variables for roe deer; protection negatively influenced roe deer distribution in both parks and positively influenced red deer distribution in Germany.Forest cover was the least important variable for roe deer and the third important variable for red deer; the relationship for roe deer was positive and linear, and optimal forest cover for red deer was about 70% within a 500 m radius.Our results have direct implications for the future conservation management of deer in protected areas in Central Europe and show in particular that large non-intervention zones may not cause agglomerations of deer that could lead to conflicts along the border of protected, mountainous areas.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Conservation and Research, Bavarian Forest National Park, Grafenau, Germany; Chair of Wildlife Ecology and Management, University of Freiburg, Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, Freiburg, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The Bohemian Forest Ecosystem encompasses various wildlife management systems. Two large, contiguous national parks (one in Germany and one in the Czech Republic) form the centre of the area, are surrounded by private hunting grounds, and hunting regulations in each country differ. Here we aimed at unravelling the influence of management-related and environmental factors on the distribution of red deer (Cervus elaphus) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) in this ecosystem. We used the standing crop method based on counts of pellet groups, with point counts every 100 m along 218 randomly distributed transects. Our analysis, which accounted for overdispersion as well as zero inflation and spatial autocorrelation, corroborated the view that both human management and the physical and biological environment drive ungulate distribution in mountainous areas in Central Europe. In contrast to our expectations, protection by national parks was the least important variable for red deer and the third important out of four variables for roe deer; protection negatively influenced roe deer distribution in both parks and positively influenced red deer distribution in Germany. Country was the most influential variable for both red and roe deer, with higher counts of pellet groups in the Czech Republic than in Germany. Elevation, which indicates increasing environmental harshness, was the second most important variable for both species. Forest cover was the least important variable for roe deer and the third important variable for red deer; the relationship for roe deer was positive and linear, and optimal forest cover for red deer was about 70% within a 500 m radius. Our results have direct implications for the future conservation management of deer in protected areas in Central Europe and show in particular that large non-intervention zones may not cause agglomerations of deer that could lead to conflicts along the border of protected, mountainous areas.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Effect of forest cover on the number of deer pellet groups.Shaded areas indicate bootstrapped point-wise 95% confidence intervals; confidence intervals are only shown for areas outside national parks to improve readability. A) Red deer pellet groups; model parameters are provided in Table 2. B) Roe deer pellet groups; model parameters are provided in Table 3.
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pone.0120960.g004: Effect of forest cover on the number of deer pellet groups.Shaded areas indicate bootstrapped point-wise 95% confidence intervals; confidence intervals are only shown for areas outside national parks to improve readability. A) Red deer pellet groups; model parameters are provided in Table 2. B) Roe deer pellet groups; model parameters are provided in Table 3.

Mentions: Our fourth prediction was that red deer pellet group densities would be higher in areas with more forest cover that provide protection from hunting, and roe deer pellet group densities would be higher in areas with lower forest cover because of higher food availability. Our results indicated that the amount of forest in the area of the transect significantly influenced the number of both red deer pellet groups found (X2 = 17.38, df = 2, P < 0.001) and roe deer pellet groups found (βForest = 0.83, SE = 0.31, t = 2.71, P < 0.01) (Tables 1 and 2). Forest had a stronger influence on the number of red deer pellet groups (18.8%, Fig. 4A and Table 3) than on the number of roe deer pellet groups (9.9%, Table 3) and therefore a better defined effect on red deer. The number of red deer pellet groups increased up to about 70% forest cover, and declined thereafter. The relationship between the number of roe deer pellet groups and forest cover was linear on the log scale and slightly positive (Fig. 4B).


Country, cover or protection: what shapes the distribution of red deer and roe deer in the Bohemian Forest Ecosystem?

Heurich M, Brand TT, Kaandorp MY, Šustr P, Müller J, Reineking B - PLoS ONE (2015)

Effect of forest cover on the number of deer pellet groups.Shaded areas indicate bootstrapped point-wise 95% confidence intervals; confidence intervals are only shown for areas outside national parks to improve readability. A) Red deer pellet groups; model parameters are provided in Table 2. B) Roe deer pellet groups; model parameters are provided in Table 3.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4363369&req=5

pone.0120960.g004: Effect of forest cover on the number of deer pellet groups.Shaded areas indicate bootstrapped point-wise 95% confidence intervals; confidence intervals are only shown for areas outside national parks to improve readability. A) Red deer pellet groups; model parameters are provided in Table 2. B) Roe deer pellet groups; model parameters are provided in Table 3.
Mentions: Our fourth prediction was that red deer pellet group densities would be higher in areas with more forest cover that provide protection from hunting, and roe deer pellet group densities would be higher in areas with lower forest cover because of higher food availability. Our results indicated that the amount of forest in the area of the transect significantly influenced the number of both red deer pellet groups found (X2 = 17.38, df = 2, P < 0.001) and roe deer pellet groups found (βForest = 0.83, SE = 0.31, t = 2.71, P < 0.01) (Tables 1 and 2). Forest had a stronger influence on the number of red deer pellet groups (18.8%, Fig. 4A and Table 3) than on the number of roe deer pellet groups (9.9%, Table 3) and therefore a better defined effect on red deer. The number of red deer pellet groups increased up to about 70% forest cover, and declined thereafter. The relationship between the number of roe deer pellet groups and forest cover was linear on the log scale and slightly positive (Fig. 4B).

Bottom Line: In contrast to our expectations, protection by national parks was the least important variable for red deer and the third important out of four variables for roe deer; protection negatively influenced roe deer distribution in both parks and positively influenced red deer distribution in Germany.Forest cover was the least important variable for roe deer and the third important variable for red deer; the relationship for roe deer was positive and linear, and optimal forest cover for red deer was about 70% within a 500 m radius.Our results have direct implications for the future conservation management of deer in protected areas in Central Europe and show in particular that large non-intervention zones may not cause agglomerations of deer that could lead to conflicts along the border of protected, mountainous areas.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Conservation and Research, Bavarian Forest National Park, Grafenau, Germany; Chair of Wildlife Ecology and Management, University of Freiburg, Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, Freiburg, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The Bohemian Forest Ecosystem encompasses various wildlife management systems. Two large, contiguous national parks (one in Germany and one in the Czech Republic) form the centre of the area, are surrounded by private hunting grounds, and hunting regulations in each country differ. Here we aimed at unravelling the influence of management-related and environmental factors on the distribution of red deer (Cervus elaphus) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) in this ecosystem. We used the standing crop method based on counts of pellet groups, with point counts every 100 m along 218 randomly distributed transects. Our analysis, which accounted for overdispersion as well as zero inflation and spatial autocorrelation, corroborated the view that both human management and the physical and biological environment drive ungulate distribution in mountainous areas in Central Europe. In contrast to our expectations, protection by national parks was the least important variable for red deer and the third important out of four variables for roe deer; protection negatively influenced roe deer distribution in both parks and positively influenced red deer distribution in Germany. Country was the most influential variable for both red and roe deer, with higher counts of pellet groups in the Czech Republic than in Germany. Elevation, which indicates increasing environmental harshness, was the second most important variable for both species. Forest cover was the least important variable for roe deer and the third important variable for red deer; the relationship for roe deer was positive and linear, and optimal forest cover for red deer was about 70% within a 500 m radius. Our results have direct implications for the future conservation management of deer in protected areas in Central Europe and show in particular that large non-intervention zones may not cause agglomerations of deer that could lead to conflicts along the border of protected, mountainous areas.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus