WINTER PRESENCE OF MOOSE IN CLEAR-CUT BLACK SPRUCE LANDSCAPES: RELATED TO SPATIAL PATTERN OR TO VEGETATION?
Winter aerial surveys of moose (Alces alces) were completed on 14 landscapes (10–256 km2 ) formed of aggregated black spruce (Picea mariana) clear-cuts logged 3–9 years ago in southcentral Québec. Moose were present in 8 landscapes (11 yards) and had a mean density of 0.20 moose/10 km2, which was 50% of the density observed in the same hunting zone with a similar forest composition. Based on previous work, effects of variability in hunting pressure and time since cutting were assumed not to influence distribution and abundance of moose. Browse density did not increase with age of cuts. Moose density was not related to the size of the clear-cut landscapes or the proportion of residual forest (18–40%) within each landscape (P = 0.14). Moose yards were not located close to uncut forest surrounding the landscapes and did not have a greater proportion of residual forest than clear-cut landscapes. Moose yards had a denser shrub layer and more browse available than random sites selected in the same landscapes. The presence of moose in large clearcut black spruce landscapes is related to vegetation characteristics and not the spatial pattern of the forest. The authors propose two strategies to maintain moose populations and moose hunting activity in this type of forest after harvesting.
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