The aim of this PHD project is to investigate how different moose densities and supplementary winter feeding of moose affects the ecosystem, focusing on birds, insects and field-layer vegetation. Moose densities in Scandinavia have increased greatly over the last 100 years. The moose is a large herbivore and we may expect that high moose densities over long time periods affect the ecosystem, through changes of plant species diversity, vegetation structure and availability of nutrients. Supplementary feeding of moose in winter is common in many areas in Norway, leading to high moose densities around feeding stations. How this type of management affects the ecosystem is little known.

I have investigated how moose browsing and supplementary feeding stations for moose affect reproduction and biodiversity in passerine birds, field-layer vegetation and pollinating insects. Bird reproduction and diversity, and field layer diversity and reproduction have been surveyed in transects from feeding stations in Stor-Elvdal municipality, Hedmark, Norway. Field layer vegetation reproduction and diversity, and abundance and diversity of pollinating insects have been surveyed in an exclosure experiment in Umeå in north-Sweden, where moose browsing, defecation and urination have been simulated experimentally at different moose densities over a productivity gradient.

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Moose browsing may have effects on the birds and the bees. Photo: Moose - Skarphedinn Thorisson, others; Karen Marie Mathisen



  • Mathisen, Karen Marie; Pedersen, Simen; Nilsen, Erlend Birkeland; Skarpe, Christina. 2011. Contrasting responses of two passerine bird species to moose browsing. European Journal of Wildlife Research 2011. DOI:  10.1007/s10344-011-0601-3
  • Mathisen, Karen Marie (2011) Indirect effects of moose on the birds and the bees . Doctoral diss. Dept. of Wildlife, Fish, and Environmental Studies, SLU. Acta Universitatis agriculturae Sueciae vol. 2011:13.
  • Mathisen, K. M. , F. Buhtz, K. Danell, R. Bergström, C. Skarpe, O. Suominen, I. L. Persson.2010. Moose density and habitat productivity affects reproduction, growth and species composition in field-layer vegetation. Journal of Vegetation Science. DOI: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2010.01180.x
  • Mathisen, K. M. and C. Skarpe 2011. Cascading effects of moose management on birds. Ecologcial Research. DOI: 10.1007/s11284-011-0815-6
  • Van Beest, F. M., Gundersen, H., Mathisen, K. M., Milner, J. M. and Skarpe, C. 2010. Long-term browsing impact around diversionary feeding stations for moose in Southern Norway. Forest Ecology and Management, 259, 10, 1900-1911.
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