Human recreation affects spatio-temporal habitat use patterns in red deer (Cervus elaphus)

Coppes, Joy; Burghardt, Friedrich; Hagen, Robert; Suchant, Rudi; Braunisch, Veronika (2017). Human recreation affects spatio-temporal habitat use patterns in red deer (Cervus elaphus). PLoS ONE, 12(5), e0175134. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0175134

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The rapid spread and diversification of outdoor recreation can impact on wildlife in various ways, often leading to the avoidance of disturbed habitats. To mitigate human-wildlife conflicts, spatial zonation schemes can be implemented to separate human activities from key wildlife habitats, e.g., by designating undisturbed wildlife refuges or areas with some level of restriction to human recreation and land use. However, mitigation practice rarely considers temporal differences in human-wildlife interactions. We used GPS telemetry data from 15 red deer to study the seasonal (winter vs. summer) and diurnal (day vs. night) variation in recreation effects on habitat use in a study region in south-western Germany where a spatial zonation scheme has been established. Our study aimed to determine if recreation infrastructure and spatial zonation affected red deer habitat use and whether these effects varied daily or seasonally. Recreation infrastructure did not affect home range selection in the study area, but strongly determined habitat use within the home range. The spatial zonation scheme was reflected in both of these two levels of habitat selection, with refuges and core areas being more frequently used than the border zones. Habitat use differed significantly between day and night in both seasons. Both summer and winter recreation trails, and nearby foraging habitats, were avoided during day, whereas a positive association was found during night. We conclude that human recreation has an effect on red deer habitat use, and when designing mitigation measures daily and seasonal variation in human-wildlife interactions should be taken into account. We advocate using spatial zonation in conjunction with temporal restrictions (i.e., banning nocturnal recreation activities) and the creation of suitable foraging habitats away from recreation trails.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Conservation Biology

UniBE Contributor:

Braunisch, Veronika

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)

ISSN:

1932-6203

Publisher:

Public Library of Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Olivier Roth

Date Deposited:

17 Apr 2018 17:19

Last Modified:

22 Apr 2018 02:20

Publisher DOI:

10.1371/journal.pone.0175134

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.110642

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/110642

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