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Title: Factors affecting the relative densities of red and roe deer in Scottish forests
Author: Latham, James
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1993
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The environmental factors influencing the population densities of red (Cervus elaphus) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) living in Scottish plantation forests were investigated. The work followed from intensive studies of the ecology of red and roe deer within a single forest in Argyll, Scotland. Densities were estimated in twenty forests, based on standing crop dung group counts conducted on c. 100 transects (1.5 x 100 m) per forest, stratified to take account of different habitat types. The figures were converted to deer densities using decay rates estimated from experimental plots and from published values of deer defaecation rates. Estimated densities of both species were inversely related (p 0.05), and ranged from 0.5 to C.35 deer km-2. The relationships of densities with habitat composition, climate, vegetation composition, soil type and culling pressure were investigated. Analyses included pairwise correlation, principal components analysis and stepwise multiple regression. Red deer density was positively correlated with temperature, and negatively correlated with 'chilling conditions' (combined wind-speed and low temperatures) and culling pressure (p 0.05). Pregnancy rates of both species were positively correlated with each other, and with sunshine, windspeed and forb abundance (p 0.05). Red deer pregnancy rates were negatively correlated with snow-depth and population density (p 0.05); roe deer pregnancy rates were negatively correlated with rainfall {p 0.05). It is suggested that deer density variation reflects both the relative climatic adaptations of the two species, and the differential influence of climate, diet quality and competition upon two ruminants with different digestive specialisations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available