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Gewählte Publikation:

Arnold, JM; Gerhardt, P; Steyaert, SMJG; Hochbichler, E; Hacklander, K.
(2018): Diversionary feeding can reduce red deer habitat selection pressure on vulnerable forest stands, but is not a panacea for red deer damage
FOREST ECOL MANAG. 2018; 407: 166-173. FullText FullText_BOKU

Diversionary feeding implies strategic food provisioning to wildlife to lure animals away from undesired areas, and is a common forest management practice throughout Europe and North America. Within forestry, diversionary feeding typically targets cervids, and aims to reduce browsing damage and bark-stripping in vulnerable forest stands (young and mid-aged forest stands). Because these stands are most vulnerable during winter, diversionary feeing is often restricted to that season. Despite being widely applied, clear evidence on the effectiveness of diversionary feeding of cervids is lacking. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of diversionary winter feeding as a tool to lure away a large cervid, red deer (Cervus elaphus), from vulnerable forest stands. First, we hypothesized (H1) that diversionary feeding is among the most important factors explaining differences in red deer habitat selection between summer (Le., no food supply at feeding stations) and winter (i.e., food supply ad libitum at feeding stations). Second, we hypothesized (H2) that diversionary feeding releases red deer habitat selection pressure in forest stands vulnerable for browsing or bark-stripping, and that this release decays with distance to the nearest feeding station. We tested our hypotheses using red deer relocation data (11 individuals *** 3 years) and resource selection functions in an intensively managed Austrian forest. As expected, variation in red deer habitat selection between summer and winter was best explained by a different response to supplementary feeding stations between the seasons (H1). During winter, red deer strongly selected for areas close to feeding stations, whereas feeding stations did not strongly affect their habitat selection during summer. We found that diversionary feeding during winter released red deer habitat selection pressure on vulnerable forest stands, but limited to distances of about 1.3 to 1.5 km from the feeding station, this accounts for 39% of the study area (H2). Our results show that diversionary feeding can indeed be an effective tool to mediate habitat selection behavior and to lure cervids away from vulnerable forest stands. However, habitat selection is not necessarily a good proxy for damage, and whether or not diversionary feeding reduces forestry damage in the long-term remains unclear, as it can positively feed-back into survival, reproduction, and eventually population growth and densities. We suggest that forest managers also consider silvicultural measures, population control (i.e., hunting) or spatial planning as means to minimize red deer induced forestry damage.
Autor/innen der BOKU Wien:
Arnold Johanna
Gerhardt Philipp
Hackländer Klaus
Hochbichler Eduard
BOKU Gendermonitor:

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Cervus elaphus
Supplementary feeding
Diversionary feeding
Deer impact

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