MOOSE WINTER FEEDING IN RELATION TO MORPHOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY OF SIX TREE SPECIES
The consumption and utilization of six deciduous tree species by moose were studied in relation to available browse biomass, shoot size and chemistry. Three-meter high trees of Alnus glutinosa, Betula pendula, B. pubescens, Populus tremula, Salix caprea, and Sorbus aucuparia were presented to enclosed moose. After browsing by moose the number of bites and their diameters were recorded from different heights on the trees.
Bite diameter increased with increased height in the crown and was thereby correlated to the diameter of the annual shoots. Number of bites, total consumption, utilization and browsing time per tree differed between the tree species. The highest consumption of twigs was from Populus tremula, Salix caprea and Sorbus aucuparia, which corresponds to wild moose preferences. Large annual shoots were a common feature of the most preferred tree species.
The total consumption of browse was positively correlated to Mg and K concentration in twigs.
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