Hoidettujen talvilaitumien vaikutus hirvituhoihin mäntytaimikoissaEffect of winter feeding on moose damage to young Scots pine stands.
The establishment of moose (Alces alces L.) winter feeding sites, their utilization and their effect on damage to young Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) plantations was studied in Ruokolahti-Imatra area in Eastern Finland in 1987–89. During the period, the density in the area was about 3–5 moose/ 1,000 ha.
Six feeding sites were established by fertilization, offering mineral lics and the tops of aspen and Scot pine and by salting the tops of pine. The moose preferred the feeding site to control areas during both summer and winter. In winter browsing was very heavy, especially in those areas located in or close to traditional wintering areas. In winter no moose were seen in the summer habitats.
The extent of, and fluctuations in moose damage were studied in 47 Scots pine plantations in the immediate surroundings of the feeding sites (29 plantations), control areas (18 plantations) and also 68 randomly selected pine plantations. Before the experiment began in 1987 four plantations had been seriously damaged. During the study period only one plantation was seriously damaged. However, it could not be conclusively proved that damage to the pine plantations had been reduced as a result of the feeding sites. The results of the study can be put into practice elsewhere to create better living conditions for moose in their winter habitats. However, the food offered at the feeding site should be in the right proportion to the number of animals wintering in the area, so that the risk of damage to nearby plantations would be kept as small as possible.
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Published in 1990