, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp 351-359
Date: 15 May 2012

Relationships between wild ungulates density and crop damage in Hungary

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Game damage to agriculture represents one of the most important and most frequent human–wildlife conflicts worldwide. In Hungary and in the other European countries, damage caused by wild boar (Sus scrofa) and red deer (Cervus elaphus) is the most significant. The volume of damage is correlated with the population density of the game species, however, not exclusively. Since the growing expansion of wild ungulates is a general tendency in Europe, increasing conflicts can be envisaged. The objective of our study was to assess the possible relationships between the amount of agricultural game damage and big game population density considering some other factors (e.g. habitat structure, sown area of cultivated plants) by analysing wildlife management and land-use statistics for the 19 counties of Hungary from 1997 to 2008. According to the results, crop damage positively correlated with the population density of red deer and wild boar, with the length of forest edge, and the proportion of the sown area of maize. According to the regression model, these factors could be accountable for 74.2 % of the total agricultural game damage.