Ecological Research

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 781–789 | Cite as

Comparative use of forest habitats by roe deer and moose in a human-modified landscape in southeastern Norway during winter

  • Rita Tinoco Torres
  • J. C. Carvalho
  • M. Panzacchi
  • J. D. C. Linnell
  • C. Fonseca
Original Article


The negative impact of anthropogenic disturbance and land-use changes on large mammals is generally recognized within conservation biology. In southeastern Norway, both moose (Alces alces) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) occur throughout human-modified landscapes, facilitating an interesting comparative study of their habitat use. By using pellet group counts, we looked at the importance of forest structure, vegetation characteristics and human disturbance (e.g., distance to the nearest house, nearest paved road, and nearest edge between field and forest) in shaping the winter distribution of both species at multiple spatial scales, in non-agricultural habitats. Moose occurred more often in areas with higher densities of heather and Vaccinium sp. in the ground layer, and used areas with more open forest structure. The proportion of built-up areas, within a 1,000-m buffer, negatively influenced moose occurrence. Roe deer occurred more often in areas with deciduous trees and patches with juniper and Vaccinium sp. in the ground layer, used areas near roads less, but were significantly associated with areas near the field–forest ecotone. The proportion of built-up areas positively influenced roe deer distribution within a 2,500-m buffer. Roe deer seem to be able to persist in more human-dominated landscapes, possibly due to the availability of field–forest edges providing both high-quality fodder and cover in close proximity. Moose, on the contrary, did not show any preference for areas associated with human disturbance, and their distribution was only associated with patches providing food.


Capreolus capreolus Alces alces Game management Human activities Pellet group counts 



We are grateful to Ivonne Teurlings, Márcia Santos, and Sérgio Timóteo for valuable assistance in the field. Rita Torres was supported by Fundação para Ciência e Tecnologia (SFRH/BD/28310/2006). The Norwegian research activity was funded by the Research Council of Norway and the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management.


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rita Tinoco Torres
    • 1
  • J. C. Carvalho
    • 2
  • M. Panzacchi
    • 3
  • J. D. C. Linnell
    • 3
  • C. Fonseca
    • 1
  1. 1.CESAM and Department of BiologyUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Biology, CBMA-Molecular and Environmental CentreUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal
  3. 3.Norwegian Institute for Nature ResearchTrondheimNorway

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