DYNAMICS OF POPULATION SIZE AND HARVEST RATE OF RED DEER (CERVUS ELAPHUS) IN NORTHERN POLAND

Ewa Ziółkowska

Abstract


In Poland during last decade number of red deer increased from 130 000 to 217 000 individuals despite increase in numbers of animals harvested from 38 000 to 69 000. The increase in the population size of deer raised the level of damage exerted in cultivated fields, and increased the cost of protecting forest plantations against browsing and bark stripping which amounted in 2012 to 14 million and 40 million euro, respectively. Preliminary results of estimation of the population size, made by objective methods, indicate that data obtained from hunters on the numbers of red deer  are gross underestimates. For this reason, an attempt was made to verify the official data on red deer population size within the 433 000 hectares of forest administered by the Regional Directorate of State Forests in Torun. In the period 2007-2013 period there was an increase in the population size from 8 300 to 10 600 individuals, despite systematic increase in the number of animals harvested from 2 800 to 4 700. The respective rates of increase in population size and harvest measured as the finite rate of increase (λ), amounted to  4%, and 9% per annum. Using the harvest data, and the finite rate of increase in population, and assuming that the annual net population reaches 20 % of the deer number after the closure of hunting season, the probable population size was calculated. The calculations showed that, depending on game management unit,  the population size was higher by factor of 2 to 3 than the data provided by hunters, and the population density fluctuated from 8.7 to 106.5 individuals /1000 hectares of forest. The estimated population density of red deer in the studied area was thus higher by 139 % than the official data, and amounted to 24 400 individuals or 49.5 individuals per 1000 ha of forest. It is suggested that the density of red deer should be reduced to 35 individuals/1000 ha by the increase of the harvest quotas to the level of 27% of the population size at the closure of hunting season in March.

Keywords


population census, hunting statistics, rate of increase, population density, hunting bag

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15679/bjwr.v1i1.6

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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.