Vegetation community selection by ungulates on the Isle of Rhum. II. Vegetation community selection

Gordon, I.J. (1989) Vegetation community selection by ungulates on the Isle of Rhum. II. Vegetation community selection. Journal of Applied Ecology, 26 (1). pp. 53-64.

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Abstract

(1) The seasonal pattern of vegetation community use and selection by free-ranging cattle, red deer, goats and ponies on the Isle of Rhum in Scotland in 1982-83 is described.

(2) Cattle, red deer and ponies preferentially selected grassland communities, whereas goats preferred heath communities.

(3) All species showed marked seasonality in their use of the available vegetation communities. The majority of the grazing species selected the mesotrophic Agrostis- Festuca communities in spring and summer. During the autumn and winter, the cattle selected oligotrophic grasslands, Molinia fen and Schoenus fen, whereas the red deer and ponies remained on the mesotrophic communities. Female goats selected the mesotrophic communities, whereas the males selected the oligotrophic communities.

(4) All species showed an increase in their breadth of vegetation community use in spring and autumn and concentrated their feeding activity on few communities during the winter and summer.

(5) The feeding ecology of the red deer stags appeared to be affected by the cull during the summer months, as they used the mesotrophic communities less than did the hinds and less than the stags in an unculled area of the island.

(6) The female red deer made more use of the higher quality mesotrophic communities in winter than the stags

Item ID: 42647
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2664
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council (UK) (NERC)
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2016 07:43
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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