The effect of forest structure and vegetation on reindeer habitat choices: A study in the winter grazing grounds of Vilhelmina norra reindeer herding district, Västerbotten, Sweden
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
The objective of this thesis was to examine whether forest structure and ground vegetation could explain the habitat choices of the reindeer within similar forest stands. The field work was carried out on 60 sites scattered across a part of the winter grounds for Vilhelmina Norra reindeer herding district. All sites were situated within so-called core and key areas, i.e. areas which the herding district sees as necessary for the reindeer husbandry in the area. Information from GPS-collared reindeer were used to create RIVO (by the Reindeer Identified [as] Important Areas) maps, where areas the reindeer preferred were shown. The results showed that the core and key areas were not significantly different from each other regarding the forest structure, nor the vegetation, but there were some differences in terms of the habitat choice of the reindeer and when the core and key areas were combined with RIVO. The differences concern mainly the coverage of ground lichens, epiphytic lichens and moose presence. Results from other studies suggest that the reindeer habitat selection is dependent on the weather and snow conditions, and looks very different from year to year. The snow conditions are in turn affected by the forest structure, so it is important that the grazing grounds have a heterogeneous forest landscape, including areas which under normal circumstances would not be seen as important for the reindeer husbandry.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 16 p.
Reindeer husbandry, habitat choice, winter grazing grounds, forest structure, GPS-collars, key and core areas, RIVO
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-89790OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-89790DiVA: diva2:724065
Master's Programme in Ecology
Moen, Jon, Professor
Jonsson, Micael, Dr