European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 60, Issue 6, pp 909–917

Roe deer population structure in a highly fragmented landscape

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10344-014-0859-3

Cite this article as:
Breyne, P., Mergeay, J. & Casaer, J. Eur J Wildl Res (2014) 60: 909. doi:10.1007/s10344-014-0859-3


Northern Belgium (Flanders) is one of the most densely populated and urbanized regions in Europe. Many species are therefore likely to suffer from anthropogenic pressure and habitat destruction and fragmentation. Although many large mammals are recolonizing in parts of Europe, including Belgium, due to adaptation, a relaxation of persecution and habitat restoration, we have little actual data concerning the effects of landscape features on their population structure. We analysed the genetic structure of discrete roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) populations in the Eastern part of Flanders, with special emphasis on the impact of habitat fragmentation and anthropogenic barriers. The sampled populations were clearly genetically differentiated. Genetic structure could be explained by purely distance-based landscape modelling, but a simpler model focusing solely on barrier effects of large transportation infrastructure explained nearly as much genetic variance. In contrast, analyses based on least-cost landscape modelling failed to yield a significant effect. Overall, the results suggest considerable landscape-level effects of transportation infrastructure.


Capreolus capreolus Fragmentation Genetic drift Redundancy analysis Landscape genetics 

Supplementary material

10344_2014_859_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (208 kb)
ESM 1(PDF 207 kb)
10344_2014_859_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (88 kb)
ESM 2(PDF 87 kb)
10344_2014_859_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (186 kb)
ESM 3(PDF 185 kb)
10344_2014_859_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (174 kb)
ESM 4(PDF 174 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO)GeraardsbergenBelgium

Personalised recommendations