WINTER HABITAT SELECTION BY MOOSE IN NORTHERN BRITISH COLUMBIA
This study reports a 3-year field investigation of the relationships between moose (Alces alces andersoni) and their winter habitat in the Liard River valley in northern British Columbia. Sixteen browse species accounted for 97 percent of all browse utilization by moose, with willows alone contributing 35 percent. Habitat selection by moose appeared to be largely based on the availability of these 16 browse species. Browse utilization was greatest in sub-alpine and alluvial habitats, intermediate in bog lowlands and upland deciduous and mixed habitats, and lowest in burns and upland coniferous types. Moose pellet density was greater in sub-alpine (44 groups/ha), burns (33), bog lowland (26) and alluvial types (21), and was lower in the upland deciduous/mixed (10) and coniferous (4) types. Moose density was measured at 0.7 moose/km2 in February 1981, ranging from 0.1 moose/km2 in upland coniferous forests to 1.1 in burns, 1.2 in alluvial habitats and 3.0 in sub-alpine shrubland. Strong correlations were found between moose density, browse utilization and pellet density. Burns, sub-alpine and alluvial habitats were consistently selected by wintering moose, whereas upland deciduous, mixed and coniferous habitats were generally avoided. Bog lowlands were selected in proportion to their availability.
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