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Moose habitat selection under the landscape of predation risk

Citation

Sand, Håkan et al. (2021), Moose habitat selection under the landscape of predation risk, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.ffbg79cvt

Abstract

Landscape of fear refers to the spatial variation in prey perception of predation risk, that under certain conditions, may lead to changes in their behavior. Behavioral responses of prey in relation to large carnivore predation risk have mainly been conducted in areas with low anthropogenic impact. We used long-term data on the distribution of moose in different habitat types in a system characterized by intensive management of all three trophic levels (silviculture, harvest of wolves and moose) to study effects on moose habitat selection resulting from the return of an apex predator, the wolf. We assumed that coursing predators such as wolves will cause an increased risk for moose in some habitat types and tested the hypotheses that moose will avoid open or young forest habitats following wolf establishment. After wolf recolonization, moose reduced their use of one type of open habitat (bog) but there was neither change in the use of the other open habitat type (clear-cut), nor in their use of young forest. Wolf establishment did not influence the use of habitat close to dense habitat when being in open habitats. Thus, the effect of wolves varied among habitat types and there was no unidirectional support for a behavioral effect of wolves’ establishment on moose habitat use. Human-driven habitat heterogeneity, concentration of moose forage to certain habitat types, and the effects of a multiple predator guild on moose may all contribute to the results found. We conclude that the landscape of fear is likely to have weak ecological effects on moose in this system.

Funding

Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet, Award: NV-08503

Svenska Forskningsrådet Formas, Award: 2016-01038

Marie-Claire Cronstedts Stiftelse