IMPACT OF FREE-RANGING EUROPEAN BISON TO ECOSYSTEMS IN FRAGMENTED LANDSCAPE, LITHUANIA

Artūras Kibiša., Vitas Marozas, Dovydas Talijūnas, Rytas Papšys, Sabalinkienė Gintarė, Kastytis Šimkevičius

Abstract


European bison (Bison bonasus L.) is the largest herbivore in Europe. Historically, it was distributed throughout western, central, and south-eastern Europe. Habitat degradation and fragmentation due to agricultural activity, forest loggings, and unlimited hunting were the main reasons for the decrease and extinction of European bison populations. In Lithuania, European bison were exterminated in the seventeenth century, but reintroduced in 1969. The species is still included in the country's Red Data Book. The first free ranging herd was established in 1973. Currently, the population of 186 free-ranging European bison individuals could be observed in the central part of the country – Panevezys and Kedainiai regions. European bison are spread in a highly anthropogenic agricultural landscape. Free-ranging European bison spend most of their time in forested areas, semi-open areas and forest fragments in agro-lands and agricultural fields, causing high damage rate to local farmers. They prefer young coniferous stands to mature and over-mature hardwood or softwood deciduous stands. In agricultural fields they prefer grain and corn to rape, leguminous or perennial grass. Recently, the amount of damage compensation reached 98820 euros per year. A test of a new method for evaluating the damage to agricultural fields caused by bison was successfully used by analysing orthophotoplan, obtained by using unmanned aircraft. 


Keywords


agroecosystems, bison, forest, vegetation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15679/bjwr.v4i2.55

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ISSN: 2335-0113

Publisher: Visio Mundi Academic Media Group

Creative Commons License
This journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.