A PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT ON THE INFLUENCE OF HABITAT COMPOSITION AND STRUCTURE ON MOOSE DENSITY IN CLEARCUTS OF NORTH-WESTERN QUÉBEC
Aerial survey data were used to describe moose density changes in relation to habitat composition and structure in clear-cut areas, and to infer the impact of these variables on limiting factors. We hypothesized that moose density would be lower in cut areas due to increased hunting and predation. Four habitat types (food and cover stands, cover stands, cuts, and other habitats) and 7 fragmentation indices were used in our analyses. Aerial surveys conducted in seven 35-112-km2 blocks showed that moose density was related to the proportion of deciduous and mixed (food and cover) stands within each block and edge between food and cover and resinous stands (cover). Density, productivity, and harvest rate were not significantly influenced by clear-cuts. Our results suggest that habitat models should consider food and food-cover border over other habitat components.
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