Landscape factors influencing moose (Alces americanus) density and browsing in Newfoundland, Canada

Camus, Stacey A. (2013) Landscape factors influencing moose (Alces americanus) density and browsing in Newfoundland, Canada. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

I investigated landscape scale processes and factors that influence moose (Alces americanus syn. Alces alces) browsing and density in Newfoundland, Canada. I tested whether moose density and management designation were related to browsing patterns on the landscape, and if browsing has the potential to change forest regeneration. I quantified landscape composition and configuration in areas of different moose density (low vs. high). -- Moose browsing was quantified using vegetation indices in areas of different moose density (low vs. high) and management designation (crown land vs. National parks). Landscape scale processes and factors (management designation, moose density, forage species, and sapling height) were incorporated into linear regression models to explain browsing patterns, and compared using the information theoretic approach. At a broader scale, landscape scale processes and factors (hunter access, success, forest cuts, and natural disturbances) as well as landscape composition and configuration were mapped and categorized using a GIS. Landscape processes and factors were included into regression models to explain moose density and compared using the information theoretic approach. Results indicate that forest regeneration was altered through selective browsing but did not differ according to moose density or management designation. Further, moose density did differ with landscape composition and configuration. There was high variance observed in moose browsing in relation to forest regeneration not explained by either moose density or management designation. Because of a sustained high moose density across Newfoundland, the current vegetation may be reflecting the legacy of previously high impact periods of moose browsing. My research supports previous findings that moose browsing and density are regulated by a complex interaction of landscape scale processes and factors. An understanding of the role of these landscape scale processes and factors can help guide the management of non-native overabundant moose populations in a nearly predation free ecosystem.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10261
Item ID: 10261
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Biology
Date: 2013
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Animal population density--Newfoundland and Labrador; Moose--Counting--Newfoundland and Labrador; Browsing (Animal behavior)--Newfoundland and Labrador; Wildlife management--Newfoundland and Labrador; Forest regeneration--Effect of browsing on--Newfou

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