Living on the edge: Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) density in the margins of Its geographical range

Ana M. Valente, Carlos Fonseca, Tiago A. Marques, João P. Santos, Rogério Rodrigues, Rita Tinoco Torres

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22 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Over the last decades roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) populations have increased in number and distribution throughout Europe. Such increases have profound impacts on ecosystems, both positive and negative. Therefore monitoring roe deer populations is essential for the appropriate management of this species, in order to achieve a balance between conservation and mitigation of the negative impacts. Despite being required for an effective management plan, the study of roe deer ecology in Portugal is at an early stage, and hence there is still a complete lack of knowledge of roe deer density within its known range. Distance sampling of pellet groups coupled with production and decay rates for pellet groups provided density estimates for roe deer in northeastern Portugal (Lombada National Hunting Area - LNHA, Serra de Montesinho – SM and Serra da Nogueira – SN; LNHA and SM located in Montesinho Natural Park). The estimated roe deer density using a stratified detection function was 1.23/100 ha for LNHA, 4.87/100 ha for SM and 4.25/100 ha in SN, with 95% confidence intervals (CI) of 0.68 to 2.21, 3.08 to 7.71 and 2.25 to 8.03, respectively. For the entire area, the estimated density was about 3.51/100 ha (95% CI - 2.26–5.45). This method can provide estimates of roe deer density, which will ultimately support management decisions. However, effective monitoring should be based on long-term studies that are able to detect population fluctuations. This study represents the initial phase of roe deer monitoring at the edge of its European range and intends to fill the gap in this species ecology, as the gathering of similar data over a number of years will provide the basis for stronger inferences. Monitoring should be continued, although the study area should be increased to evaluate the accuracy of estimates and assess the impact of management actions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere88459
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014

Keywords

  • Roe deer
  • Population density
  • Population ecology
  • Ecosystems
  • Conservation
  • Distance sampling

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