COMPETITION BETWEEN MOOSE AND RED DEER IN THE AUGUSTOW FOREST
A study of food habits, range use, and relationships of moose (Alces alces) and red deer (Cervus elaphus) was carried out in the Augustow Forest (north-central part of Poland). Winter diet of moose consists of 16 plant species, and the most important one is pine (Pinus silvestris) - 92.3 percent, Pine, trembling aspen (Populus tremula), and dog-wood (Evomyus europea) altogether amount to 63 percent of red deer winter diet, while dwarf shrubs - to 32 percent. Pine provides winter food preferred by moose on sites of fresh coniferous, bog coniferous, fresh mixed coniferous, and moist mixed coniferous forests. Shoots of pine are preferred over other browse plants on sites of fresh coniferous and moist coniferous forests by stags of red deer only. Day consumption of food was calculated as a result of tracking after moose (57 individuals) and red deer (38). The extent of the utilization of forest site types by both animal species shows a high seasonal variation. Competition between moose and red deer for pine, the main component of their winter diet, was observed only on areas with a deep snow which impeded red deer from using dwarf shrubs, their most preferred food. The importance of interspecific relations in spatial distribution of both populations was determined by the index of association (Dice, 1945). Moose and red deer avoid each other in most coniferous, fresh mixed coniferous forests, ash alderwood, and alderwood. They show mutual tolerance in fresh coniferous and moist mixed coniferous forest. In the case of an intensive penetration of sites attractive for red deer respecting food (niche overlapping with moose) there occurs a shift of feeding activity by moose or temporal succession or spatial penetration of those sites. Here one deals with competition model in which mechanisms of interaction between these two species occur at an individual level.
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