SEASONAL HABITAT USE BY MOOSE ON MANAGED FOREST LANDS IN NORTHERN MAINE
Seasonal home range sizes and habitat use patterns for adult moose (Alces alces) on managed forest lands in northern Maine were studied from January 1983 through September 1984 using radio telemetry. Thirty-seven moose (14 M:23 F) were located 786 times using aerial telemetry, 246 times by triangulation, and 26 times by direct observation. A median home range of 7.1 km2 was observed during the winter of 1983 in which snow did not appear to restrict moose movements. During the winter of 1984, snow depths exceeded 70 cm for most of the winter and the median home range was only 1.5 km2. Summer home ranges varied from 5-126 km2, but were typically between 15-30 km2. The median fall home range was approximately 3 km2. In 1984, most moose occupied the same seasonal home ranges used in 1983. Seasonal home ranges for most moose either overlapped or were within approximately 7 km of each other. Throughout the year moose spent the majority of their time at elevations below 367 m, which in northern Maine is the transition zone from spruce-fir (Picea spp.- Abies balsamea) dominated forests to below sugar maple (Acer saccharum), beech (Fagus grandifolia), and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis) forests at higher elevations. During summer, moose preferred to use lowlands below 305 m that included ponds, streams, and rivers used for feeding on aquatic plants, and cows spent a greater proportion of their time in these areas than bulls did. During fall and winter, moose were found most often in areas that had been logged within the previous 10-30 years that had abundant supplies of browse and uncut stands of mature spruce and fir that could be used for shelter. Habitat use in summer included these same areas, but expanded to include hardwood-dominated areas that had been logged, aquatic areas, and lowland black spruce (Picea mariana) and norther white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) forests. The results of this study indicate that moose habitat on managed forests in Maine can be readily defined and that moose habitat management activities could be coordinated with existing forest management practices. The most important points that should be considered include protecting aquatic feeding areas, the temporal and spatial distribution of 10-30 year old cuts, management of hardwood regeneration within these cuts, and the amount of residual softwood available for shelter.
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