The impacts of landscape structure on the winter movements and habitat selection of female red deer



Allen AM, Mansson J, Jarnemo A & Bunnefeld N (2014) The impacts of landscape structure on the winter movements and habitat selection of female red deer. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 60 (3), pp. 411-421.

An area of research that has recently gained more attention is to understand how species respond to environmental change such as the landscape structure and fragmentation. Movement is crucial to select habitats but the landscape structure influences the movement patterns of animals. Characterising the movement characteristics, utilisation distribution (UD) and habitat selection of a single species in different landscapes can provide important insights into species response to changes in the landscape. We investigate these three fields in female red deer (Cervus elaphus) in southern Sweden, in order to understand how landscape structure influences their movement and feeding patterns. Movements are compared between two regions, one dominated by a fragmented agriculture-forest mosaic and the other by managed homogenous forest. Red deer in the agriculture-dominated landscape had larger UDs compared to those in the forest-dominated area, moved larger distances between feeding and resting and left cover later in the day but used a similar duration for their movements, suggesting faster travelling speeds between resting and feeding locations. The habitat selection patterns of red deer indicate a trade-off between forage and cover, selecting for habitats that provide shelter during the day and forage by night. However, the level of trade-off, mediated through movement and space use patterns, is influenced by the landscape structure. Our approach provides further understanding of the link between individual animal space use and changing landscapes and can be applied to many species able to carry tracking devices.

Animal movement;Biased-random bridge;Landscape ecology;Net-squared displacement;Resource utilisation function;Wildlife management

European Journal of Wildlife Research: Volume 60, Issue 3

Publication date30/06/2014

People (1)


Professor Nils Bunnefeld

Professor Nils Bunnefeld

Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences