MOOSE DIET AND USE OF SUCCESSIONAL FORESTS IN THE CANADIAN TAIGA
An estimate of the winter diet of moose (Alces alces) in the taiga was assessed from microhistological analysis of winter-type pellets obtained mostly in summer, 1983-87, from 23 locations in northern Canada. Betula spp.-bark, mostly B. papyrifera, comprised 85% of the fragment densities, excluding one atypical sample in which Pinus banksiana accounted for 83% of the fragment densities. Salix. spp. and other Betula spp. fragments comprised most of the remainder. Moose pellet group densities at 197 upland sites were highest in regenerating forests 20-40 years after fire; those of barren ground caribou (R. t. groenlandicus) highest-in forests >60 years after fire. Without fire, the taiga would support extremely low densities of moose. Lichens comprised 36% of plant fragments in pellets of moose eating arboreal lichens and cratering like woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in the same old growth forest in Jasper-National Park. Competition between moose and caribou for arboreal lichens and Equisetum spp. potentially exists.
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