HABITAT DIFFERENCES AND MOOSE USE OF TWO LARGE BURNS ON THE KENAI PENINSULA, ALASKA
Two large burns, one in 1947 (125,000 ha) and another in 1969 (35,000 ha), produced excellent moose (Alces alces) habitat believed responsible for up to 6.6 moose/km2 on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. The fire in 1969 burned during much hotter and drier conditions than the one in 1947. This resulted in a larger proportion of the forested habitat being consumed by fire and more, but smaller, remnant forest stands. Remnant forest edge (21-25km/km2) and the percentage of burned forest habitat (71-75%) were similar in each burn. Areas within 1.6km of the 1947 burn boundary had less burned forest, more remnant forest, more forested edge, and larger stands than interior areas of the burn. The boundary and center of the 1969 burn were similar, apparently because it was a hot suppressed fire. Relocations of radio-collared moose, from 1980-84, indicated moose used water, bog, and burned forest significantly less and remnant forest significantly more than their proportion in each burn. Moose, using 1969 burned forest habitat, were located within 100m of forest edge (cover) 56% of the time. The activity of radio-collared moose was similar in burned forest, remnant forest, and bog habitats and in each burn. Moose were bedded on 60%, and traveling, feeding, or standing on 40% of the times located. Areas within 100m of the edge of forest edge appeared to be important to moose. However moose also frequently (44%) used burned habitat over 100m from the nearest cover.
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