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Projects / Programmes source: ARRS

Optimisation of indicators for monitoring of population status of game species and their habitats within adaptive management

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.01.01  Biotechnical sciences  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Forest - forestry 

Code Science Field
B430  Biomedical sciences  Sylviculture, forestry, forestry technology 

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
Keywords
adaptive management of game species, indicators, optimisation, ungulates, hunting, Slovenia
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (10)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publications
1.  28895  Danijel Borkovič    Technician  2011 - 2013  30 
2.  23167  Boris Jakop    Technician  2011 - 2013  14 
3.  29582  PhD Ida Jelenko Turinek  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2011 - 2013  164 
4.  22515  PhD Klemen Jerina  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Principal Researcher  2011 - 2013  438 
5.  32896  PhD Irena Kavčič  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2013  54 
6.  29816  PhD Miha Krofel  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2011 - 2013  691 
7.  18112  PhD Boštjan Pokorny  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2011 - 2013  850 
8.  23000  PhD Helena Poličnik  Interdisciplinary research  Researcher  2011 - 2013  215 
9.  31551  Matija Stergar    Researcher  2011 - 2013  114 
10.  23168  Marjeta Zaluberšek    Technician  2011 - 2013  97 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publications
1.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  64,118 
2.  1007  Eurofins ERICo Slovenija Inštitut za ekološke raziskave d.o.o. (Slovene)  Velenje  5583055000  2,442 
Abstract
Management of game species, especially ungulates as the most important group, in both Slovenia and several other countries, is based on adaptive management, which rely on the monitoring of indicators of status of game populations and their environment. According to experiences from managers and planners, as well as from scientific circles, there is a urgent need and also possibility for improvement of adaptive method in a sense to update/improve existing indicators, as well as to develop and implement indicators new for Slovenia. In this project we will use four most important native game species in Slovenia (red deer, roe deer, chamois, and wild boar) as an example to: (i) test reliability (i.e. response to change in species density and influence of density independent factors) of all indicators that are used in Slovenia for preparation of wildlife management plans (body weight, trophy weight, proportion of harvest realization, proportion of different causes of mortality among all removals, browsing of forest saplings, damages in agriculture) and some new indicators which have according to experiences from other countries high potential for management and which could be relatively easy and with low costs implemented also in Slovenia (e.g. size of lower jaws, fecundity of females); (ii) determine a set of optimal indicators for reliable and rational monitoring of population status and dynamics; (iii) demonstrate appropriate types of analysis of these indicators and possibilities of their implementation into planning of game management; and (iv) rationalize collecting of input data and increase their quality. Important by-products will be (v) preparation of a fine-scale (1x1 km) map of local population densities of red deer and roe deer, with, for the first time in Slovenia, validation and testing of pellet groups counting method; and (iv) analysis of reproduction (fecundity) of female red deer and wild boar in selected areas. These goals will be accomplished with three complementary approaches: (i) analysis of very large and geo-referenced (on 1x1 km scale) databases of ungulate harvest (e.g. body weight, age, sex and location of harvest for over 420,000 animals!; data on lower jaw sizes for over 50,000 animals; data on fecundity for a large number of females) and data on habitat quality and occupancy (estimates of carrying capacity calculated with the use of spatially explicit habitat models; local population densities) for the area of entire Slovenia; (ii) analysis of long-term data series on inter-annual dynamics of wild ungulate densities in relation to the external, density independent factors (e.g. snow cover, temperature, tree masts) and indicators of fitness of game animals and their environment (damages to forest saplings) in selected study areas; and (iii) synthesis of corresponding studies from other countries. Part of input data will be obtained from existing public databases and from our previous studies, and the other part directly within this project (reproduction, pellet group counting, and part of data on size and morphometrics of lower jaws). Transfer of knowledge to praxis will be promoted by practical courses for final users (wildlife management planners), lectures (formal and informal education) for hunters and other interest groups, as well as several scientific and popular publications. Through improved basic and applied knowledge, indirect improvement of management planning and consequently improved game animal management, the results of this project will present a significant contribution to the realization of general priority development goals for Slovenia. Project implementation will also directly attain all goals of the CRP theme “Determination of indicators for monitoring of game animals’ population status”.
Significance for science
During the project, a number of scientific publications with its contetnt closely related to the project topics were published, which means that project outcomes have reached global scientific sphere. The greatest contribution of research findings is in the field of interactions between freeranging ungulates and their environment. Conclusions of the project bring some entirely fresh insights on the responses of indicators, which are expected to trigger further research work in this direction. We are preparing scientific paper, in which we will present an innovative method of determining local population densities using combined data from hunting statistics and data on population densities based on pellet group counts. The method, which was developed within the project, is complete novelty worldwide and will itself contribute to the development of science. Given that the population density of animals often is used as an input to many further analyzes (e.g. studies of habitat selection), the method also opens up the space for scientific work in these areas.
Significance for the country
After final implementation in practice, we expect that project results will significantly contribute to the unification, improvement and rationalization of the wildlife management in Slovenia. We expect positive effects on the development of Slovenia in several areas: 1) Wild ungulates perform many important ecological roles, such as decomposition of organic substances, transport of nutrients, seed dispersal, and presenting prey base for large carnivores. Therefore they are often identified as key species in the ecosystem. Wild ungulates indirectly also affect the well-being of people. Results of the project will contribute to the maintenance of appropriate ungulate densities to ensure the sustainable performance of their ecological roles. 2) Game as a renewable natural resource is also important as a source of venison, which is in Slovenia comparable to the total amount of goat and sheep meat produced in the country. The project will contribute to the optimization of wild ungulate management and thus to the sustainable and rational use of ungulates as a renewable natural resource. This will have beneficial economic effects, as well as benefits for human health, due to high quality and "ecological" origin of venison. 3) Wildlife management planning in Slovenia is already at a relatively high level. With the final implementation of the improvements proposed in this project, Slovenia will become one of the leading European countries in this field, which will contribute also to the general international recognition of Slovenia.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2012, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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