CHARACTERISTICS OF CUTOVERS USED BY MOOSE (ALCES ALCES) IN EARLY WINTER
We determined the characteristics of cutovers used by moose in January-February to identify the minimum conditions required for maintaining an acceptable winter habitat for moose after cutting. We considered three types of cutovers: (1) recent cuts (2-3 years) with protection of the advanced natural regeneration (CPR) carried out in coniferous stands; (2) recent CPRs done in mixed stands; and (3) 7- to 11-year-old clearcuts without protection or regeneration. Moose were more selective in CPRs carried out in coniferous stands as compared to the two other types of cutting, suggesting that only some parts of this habitat were suitable. There, moose selected sites supporting more abundance deciduous browse and where mean height of regeneration and lateral cover were higher than those found in control sites. To keep moose in clearcut areas, we suggest maintaining in cutovers a minimum browse density of 10,000 to 15,000 stems/ha. The residual cover should be approximately 2.5 m high, and the lateral cover should reach about 50 % at 15 m. These minimum criteria were met in CPRs carried out in mixed stands and in 7- to 11-year-old cuts. Besides moose, other species living in young forests should benefit from such an improvement.
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