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Title: Factors influencing red deer occurrence at the southern edge of their range: a Mediterranean ecosystem
Author: Torres, Rita Tinoco
Santos, João
Fonseca, Carlos
Keywords: Cervus elaphus
Mediterranean ecosystem
Pellet group counts
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Elsevier
Abstract: The red deer is in the Iberian Peninsula at the southwestern edge of its European range and although widespread, red deer ecology in Portugal remains poorly understood. By using pellet group counts, we investigate how habitat structure, vegetation composition and human disturbance affect red deer occurrence. Red deer distribution was positively associated with areas with high density of heather, Leguminosae plants and patches with high cover of shrubs, ground cover and tree cover. Red deer occupied areas further away from roads and from villages. Red deer distribution was negatively associated with agricultural fields and areas with high canopy cover.In the perspective of the current climatic changes, continue research on red deer in these so-called edge populations represents an opportunity to assess the ecological responses within an evolutionary perspective and to provide important conservation suggestions for other countries located on the edge of its distribution range. The present results have implications for the conservation of red deer, emphasizing the need for wide range ecological studies. Red deer variation seems to be related to local factors rather than proximity to the edge of its range.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1016/j.mambio.2013.09.002
ISSN: 1616-5047
Appears in Collections:CESAM - Artigos
DBio - Artigos

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