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Creating a landscape of management: Unintended effects on the variation of browsing pressure in a national park


Möst, Lisa; Hothorn, Torsten; Müller, Jörg; Heurich, Marco (2015). Creating a landscape of management: Unintended effects on the variation of browsing pressure in a national park. Forest Ecology and Management, 338:46-56.

Abstract

The principle objective of management in strictly protected areas, such as national parks, is to reduce human intervention as much as possible to secure natural assemblages and processes. As wildlife management in many national parks has to deal with increased ungulate populations and a broad lack of predators, park managers need to know how their wildlife management, including feeding and hunting, disturbs ungulate behaviour, which in turn might affect natural processes. One measure for this effect is the spatial distribution of browsing pressure in the landscape. Here we measured the browsing activity of ungulates on 5841 vegetation plots in the montane Bavarian Forest National Park to test the hypothesis that browsing in the landscape is mostly influenced by environmental covariables not related to park management. The survey revealed a browsing intensity that allows regrowth of tree species most palatable for ungulates. A comparison of different predictor sets in our spatial additive logistic regression models for silver fir, common rowan and European beech revealed that management activities and space are most important in explaining the variation in browsing level. These quantitative results underline that management activities are of major relevance for the variation of browsing intensity. Thereby, these activities shape a landscape of management that strongly contrasts the aims of the national park to reduce anthropogenic influence on natural processes. We therefore urge all park managers to carefully reconsider the necessity and effect of their management activities, especially of winter feeding, deer control areas and hiking trails.

The principle objective of management in strictly protected areas, such as national parks, is to reduce human intervention as much as possible to secure natural assemblages and processes. As wildlife management in many national parks has to deal with increased ungulate populations and a broad lack of predators, park managers need to know how their wildlife management, including feeding and hunting, disturbs ungulate behaviour, which in turn might affect natural processes. One measure for this effect is the spatial distribution of browsing pressure in the landscape. Here we measured the browsing activity of ungulates on 5841 vegetation plots in the montane Bavarian Forest National Park to test the hypothesis that browsing in the landscape is mostly influenced by environmental covariables not related to park management. The survey revealed a browsing intensity that allows regrowth of tree species most palatable for ungulates. A comparison of different predictor sets in our spatial additive logistic regression models for silver fir, common rowan and European beech revealed that management activities and space are most important in explaining the variation in browsing level. These quantitative results underline that management activities are of major relevance for the variation of browsing intensity. Thereby, these activities shape a landscape of management that strongly contrasts the aims of the national park to reduce anthropogenic influence on natural processes. We therefore urge all park managers to carefully reconsider the necessity and effect of their management activities, especially of winter feeding, deer control areas and hiking trails.

Citations

3 citations in Web of Science®
5 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:03 Jan 2015 20:49
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:43
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0378-1127
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2014.11.015

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