Collared moose

Moose cow with calf that were collared in the Koppang area during January 2009

 

This 3-year PhD project is connected to the NFR-funded Moose Management Project (M.M.P.) entitled: “Improving moose forage with benefits for the hunting, forestry and farming sectors” (proj. no. 173868 under the Areal programme). The project is currently proceeding in the vicinity of Koppang community in Hedmark, in collaboration between Hedmark University College (HUC), local landowners and several national and international partners. The overall aim of the M.M.P. is to determine whether moose (Alces alces) harvest yield, and hence moose-related income, can be increased by improving the availability of forage. Knowledge generated through the project is necessary to establish scientifically-sound moose management practices, enabling a higher moose yield to be harvested sustainably. Supplementary food, grown by local farmers, will be provided in winter, and areas of productive forest will be set aside to produce summer forage by fertilising, planting and coppicing deciduous trees and limiting herbicide use. Moose movement will be recorded using GPS technology with 20 females and their calves marked per year for 2 years. This PhD thesis will focus on a subset of the issues raised by the M.M.P. through analysis of i) GPS-collar data for the period of January 2007 until December 2008 and ii) additional quantitative field-data collected. The main issue addressed in this thesis is the effect of supplementary winter feeding on the spatiotemporal distribution and foraging behaviour of moose. First, I will determine habitat selection at different spatial and temporal scales and assess the effect of supplementary feeding on winter foraging strategies. Thereafter, I will extend the analysis and examine the individual-level spatiotemporal variation in home range size and especially evaluate the role of food availability as a determinant. In the third chapter I will direct the study towards seasonal migration patterns and evaluate the effect of supplementary feeding. To finish, I will determine the long-term effect of supplementary feeding on habitat (forest) damage.

This project was completed November 2010.

 

 Publications:

  • van Beest, F. M., Rivrud, I.M., Loe, L.E., Milner, J.M. & Mysterud, A. (2011) What determines variation in home range size across spatiotemporal scales in a large browsing herbivore? Journal of Animal Ecology. 80, 771-785.
  • van Beest, F. M. et al. (2010). Forage quantity, quality and depletion as scale-dependent mechanisms driving habitat selection of a large browsing herbivore. Journal of Animal Ecology. 79, 910-922 doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2010.01701.x
  • van Beest, F. M. 2010, Factors affecting the spatiotemporal distribution of moose, with a special emphasis on supplementary feeding. PhD, University of Oslo.
  • van Beest, F. M., Loe, L. E. , Mysterud, A. & Milner, J. M. 2010. Comparative space use and habitat seleciton of moose around feeding stations. Journal of Wildlife Management 74(2): 219-227. 
  • 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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