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Spatial and temporal dynamics of wild boar (Sus scrofa) rooting in a mosaic landscape

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Abstract

Contrary to large-scale disturbances, animals constantly create small-scale patches of various kinds during the course of their daily life. For example, rooting by wild boars is a recurrent disturbance regime, which varies in frequency and extent. Rooting by wild boars (Sus scrofa L.) in south-central Sweden was therefore studied by censusing three times per year during 1992–1995 along fixed transects in the Tullgarn Nature Reserve. Significant differences were found in soil surface area being rooted by wild boar between year, season, habitat type and soil category. The amount of surface being rooted varied between 2.4 and 14.2 ha on 226 ha censused. The rooted surface in relation to the ground available was higher in deciduous compared to coniferous forests and grassland. Furthermore, the rooted surface in relation to available ground to root was much higher in damp soil than in dry soil. Mesic soil was used according to availability. Rooted patches showed large variation in size between year, season, habitat type and soil category. Within the three habitat types the largest patches were found in deciduous forests and the smallest in grasslands while in the different soil categories, the largest patches were found in damp soils and the smallest in dry soils. Results are discussed in terms of plant species diversity on a regional scale.

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