IMPACT OF MOOSE ON AQUATIC VEGETATION IN NORTHERN MAINE
Many ponds in northern Maine have a low abundance of aquatic vegetation. Five exclosures were built in 2 ponds with high moose use but little vegetation. All exclosures sustained ice damage each winter. One was damaged beyond repair after 3 years, 3 were lost during the fifth winter, and 1 lasted for 6 years. The number of plants rooted along a 20 m transect were counted in mid-August in the first, second, fourth, and fifth years of the study. All vegetation rooted in 24 1 m2 plots (3 inside and 3 outside of each of the remaining exclosures) was pulled, dried, and weighed after the third growing season. Ten plots (5 inside and 5 outside) from the 1 remaining exclosure were clipped and weighed after 6 growing seasons. Plant biomass was greater in 3 of 4 protected than in unprotected areas after 3 years (P < 0.05) and in the 1 remaining exclosure after 6 years (P < 0.05). Biomass increased within the exclosures from the third to the sixth year (P < 0.05) but there was no change in the unprotected area.
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