WINTER HABITAT USE BY MOOSE IN SOUTH-CENTRAL ALASKA
The moose (Alces alces) associated with the tri-valley system at the head of Turnagain Arm in south-central Alaska are particularly important for wildlife viewing and hunting. A more thorough understanding of the distribution and habitat use patters of moose during winter (i.e., Dec - Mar) in this area was needed to develop and implement habitat management activities for this population. Habitats available to moose were 3 shrub communities (53%), 2 forest communities (32%), and a herbaceous/grass/barren community (15). During deep-snow winters moose selected deciduous forests and alder (Alnus spp.)-willow (Salix spp.) communities. Mixed deciduous-conifer forests, sweetgale (Myrica gale), and herbaceous-grass communities were avoided. A mixed willow-sweetgale community was used in proportion to its occurrence. Moose used plant communities that provided greatest access to preferred forage species (e.g., willow). Opportunities exist to enhance habitat by manipulating plant communities to make preferred species more available during moderate- to deep-snow winters.
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