Boom and bust of a moose population – a call for integrated forest management
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionMilner, J. M., van Beest, F., & Storaas, T. (2013). Boom and bust of a moose population: a call for integrated forest management. European Journal of Forest Research. doi: http://dx.doi.org10.1007/s10342-013-0727-9 10.1007/s10342-013-0727-9
There is increasing pressure to manage forests for multiple objectives, including ecosystem services and biodiversity, alongside timber production. However, few forests are currently co-managed for timber and wildlife, despite potential economic and conservation benefits. We present empirical data from a commercial Norway spruce ( Picea abies ) and Scots pine ( Pinus sylvestris ) production system in southern Norway in which moose ( Alces alces ) are an important secondary product. Combining long-term hunting and forestry records, we identified temporal vari- ation in clear-felling over the past five decades, peaking in the 1970s. Herbicide treatment of regenerating stands and a fivefold increase in moose harvest has lead to a reduction in availability of successional forest per moose of [ 90 % since the 1960s. Field estimates showed that spraying with the herbicide glyphosate reduced forage availability by 60 and 96 % in summer and winter, respectively, 4 years after treatment. It also reduced moose use and habitat selection of young spruce stands compared with unsprayed stands. Together these lines of evidence suggest that forest man- agement led to an increase in moose carrying capacity during the 1970s and a subsequent decline thereafter. This is likely to have contributed to observed reductions in moose population productivity in southern Norway and is counter to sustainable resource management. We therefore call for better integration and long-term planning between forestry and wildlife management to minimise forest damage and the development of large fluctuations in ungulate populations.
This is the postprint version of the article. The published article can be located at www.springerlink.com