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Red deer Cervus elaphus resting place characteristics obtained from differential GPS data in a forest habitat

Abstract : We recorded thirty 24-hours monitoring periods with 10-min sampling intervals on 7 (3 female; 4 male) GPS-collared adult free ranging red deer (Cervus elaphus), from June 1999 to December 2000, in the Parc National des Cévennes, France. We observed the duration of resting bouts (n=385) and then microhabitat variables (aspect, slope, presence of edge and litter, visibility, abundance of vegetation consumed or not) at 178 resting places. Resting bouts were shorter during the night than during the day from June to October, but did not vary between sexes. Resting places visibility was lower during the day, especially in August. Daytime resting places generally offered more litter, and fewer consumed plant species. Females used steeper slopes than males. We found higher variability in visibility and slope during the night. Aspect used did not vary from month to month, or between day and night. Observed differences between day and night resting place characteristics suggest that red deer were facing a clear trade-off between feeding and cover. Use of cover prevailed during the daytime whereas night resting place characteristics were more variable, indicating less constrained behaviour. Thus, cover (as a protection from disturbance), as well as food, is an important factor in red deer habitat use (at least during the day in disturbed areas) and should not be neglected in forest carrying capacity management.
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Claire Adrados, Christophe Baltzinger, Georges Janeau, Dominique Pepin. Red deer Cervus elaphus resting place characteristics obtained from differential GPS data in a forest habitat. European Journal of Wildlife Research, Springer Verlag, 2008, 54, pp.487-494. ⟨10.1007/s10344-008-0174-y⟩. ⟨hal-02589431⟩



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