Interactions between Ungulates and Forest Ecosystems

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecology and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 November 2023) | Viewed by 3495

Special Issue Editor

Department of Wildlife Biology and Management, Institute for Wildlife Management and Nature Conservation, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, 2100 Godollo, Hungary
Interests: wildlife conservation; wildlife ecology; wildlife management; ungulates; herbivory; biodiversity monitoring; hunting

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

A huge number of ungulate species are living in forested habitats. Their diverse effects mean continuous disturbances to the forest ecosystems causing modifications in plant morphology, physiology, and growth in local scale, but also shaping vegetation development, structure and composition on a landscape-level. In addition to herbivory (including grazing, browsing, and debarking), they can have direct or indirect impacts both on soil and other animal species by trampling, defecating, urinating, or rooting. Consecutive events of ungulate activities can trigger cascade processes by changing soil characteristics and vegetation patterns and, thus, the availability of adequate habitat patches and resources for plant and animal species. The quality of the habitat and the vegetation features also have a bottom–up regulation on the occurrence, quality and activities of ungulate species influencing their top-down effects expressed in the ecological regulatory mechanisms of herbivory and forest game damage.

This Special Issue aims to give an overview of the diverse interactions between forest-dwelling ungulates and forest ecosystems, the main ungulate impacts in case of different areas with various wildlife and forest management strategies.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Ungulate impact on forest soil;
  • Ungulate impact on forest plant individuals;
  • Ungulate effects shaping vegetation and faunal patterns in forests;
  • Management of forest ecosystem influencing distribution and effects of ungulates;
  • Factors influencing forestry damage caused by ungulates.

Scientists are welcome to submit their novel research or (systematic) review to this Special Issue to broaden our knowledge on these topics.

Dr. Krisztián Katona
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • ungulates
  • herbivory
  • ungulate impact
  • game damage
  • habitat quality
  • deer
  • wild boar
  • forest management
  • browsing
  • grazing

Published Papers (4 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

20 pages, 3867 KiB  
Article
Fungal Presence and Changes of Wood Structure in Bark Stripping Wounds Made by Red Deer (Cervus elaphus L.) on Stems of Fraxinus angustifolia (Vahl)
Forests 2024, 15(2), 314; https://doi.org/10.3390/f15020314 - 07 Feb 2024
Viewed by 415
Abstract
Narrow-leaved ash (Fraxinus angustifolia Vahl), a highly valued European forest tree species, has been severely affected by a large-scale decline, which is most probably driven by a complex of multiple interacting factors including fungi, which contribute to and accelerate this process. Red [...] Read more.
Narrow-leaved ash (Fraxinus angustifolia Vahl), a highly valued European forest tree species, has been severely affected by a large-scale decline, which is most probably driven by a complex of multiple interacting factors including fungi, which contribute to and accelerate this process. Red deer (Cervus elaphus L.) can be considered as one of the contributing factors, as they inflict damage on the stems of young trees by stripping the bark. These wounds not only represent suitable entry points for fungi which can cause tissue necroses and decomposition, they can lead to changes in the wood structure as well. The aims of this research were to analyze chosen parameters of bark stripping wounds in narrow-leaved ash stands, identify fungi present in the tissue exposed by wounding, and inspect the effect of wounding on the wood structure. Bark stripping was observed on ash trees from 2 cm up to 18 cm of DBH and between 0.1 m and 1.9 m of stem height. The most susceptible trees were those with an average DBH of 5 ± 2.5 cm. On most of the ash trees (51%), one-third to two-thirds of the circumference was damaged. In wounded tissue, 174 fungal isolates were found, most of which belonged to known endophytic fungi from the genera Trichoderma, Fusarium, and Clonostachys. It was observed that earlywood cells in the wounding zone had narrower lumens compared to ones in adjacent healthy zone with regard to different trees and stem heights. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between Ungulates and Forest Ecosystems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

15 pages, 6311 KiB  
Article
Heavy Ungulate Pressure behind the Disappearance of Regeneration in Hungarian Forests
Forests 2024, 15(1), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/f15010054 - 28 Dec 2023
Viewed by 669
Abstract
Ungulate populations have surged to unsustainable levels in multiple areas in recent decades due to human intervention, making forestry and conservation practices arduous. The population of ungulates is also currently displaying a rising trend in Hungary, prompting decision-makers to commence substantial reduction efforts. [...] Read more.
Ungulate populations have surged to unsustainable levels in multiple areas in recent decades due to human intervention, making forestry and conservation practices arduous. The population of ungulates is also currently displaying a rising trend in Hungary, prompting decision-makers to commence substantial reduction efforts. Our study examined the ungulate impact in three forested regions of Hungary, employing field survey sampling plots on almost 50,000 hectares. Our findings revealed that regeneration browsing and soil disturbance were evenly high in these areas, while the cover of the regeneration layer was extremely low. Ungulate pressure was suspected as the cause of the lack of regeneration. Based on habitat and vegetation conditions, we divided our sample as favourable and unfavourable for regeneration. The cover of the regeneration categories was not significantly different between the two sets. The evidence of the direct indicators, including browsing and soil disturbance, coupled with the lack of regeneration, leads us to infer indirect signs of ungulate pressure. The absence of older and taller vegetation in the area also suggests long-standing ungulate pressure. Our investigation suggests that the high ungulate population can cause low abundance, even the lack of regeneration, not only locally but also at a regional scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between Ungulates and Forest Ecosystems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 2523 KiB  
Article
Predictability of the Spatiotemporal Pattern of Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) Rooting Influenced by Acorn Availability
Forests 2023, 14(12), 2319; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14122319 - 26 Nov 2023
Viewed by 619
Abstract
The natural regeneration of the temperate oak forests is often insufficient. Acorns of the oak serve as the basis of the recruitment and key food resources in these ecosystems, thus the crop size, the germination success and seed predators have crucial roles in [...] Read more.
The natural regeneration of the temperate oak forests is often insufficient. Acorns of the oak serve as the basis of the recruitment and key food resources in these ecosystems, thus the crop size, the germination success and seed predators have crucial roles in the process. Wild boar (Sus scrofa) is often considered as one of the main mitigating agents in oak regeneration. Therefore, in our study we analyzed and compared the spatial patterns of the acorn density and the patches rooted by wild boar within and among the different examined time intervals in a 28 ha Turkey-sessile oak (Quercus cerris, Q. petraea) forest stand. Data were collected between 2016 October and 2019 December. In the acorn density patterns, intra-annual similarities were recognized mainly, regardless of the crop size. Meanwhile, rooting patterns showed inter- and intra-annual similarities in mast years and intra-annual overlaps in non-mast years, indicating that masting is a fundamental driver of wild boar foraging behavior. However, a direct local connection between the rooting intensity and the acorn density could not be shown, as wild boars never fully depleted the acorns, even in intensively used patches. This study can help in predicting the intensively rooted forest patches, providing opportunities to manage wildlife conflicts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between Ungulates and Forest Ecosystems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 2766 KiB  
Article
Escape Game: Responses of Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis L.) to an Extreme Reduction in White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus Zimmerman) Population
Forests 2023, 14(3), 455; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030455 - 22 Feb 2023
Viewed by 988
Abstract
Northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis L.) is a species of high ecological and economic value whose abundance has been declining since the pre-industrial period. It is an important element of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus Zimmerman) habitat, but its regeneration can be [...] Read more.
Northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis L.) is a species of high ecological and economic value whose abundance has been declining since the pre-industrial period. It is an important element of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus Zimmerman) habitat, but its regeneration can be compromised by excessive browsing. This situation is especially critical in deeryards, where deer concentrate during winter. In 2018 and 2019, deer culling operations were carried out by the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks of Québec over 400 km2 in response to the occurrence of chronic wasting disease cases on a red deer farm. This operation offered an opportunity to look at how variations in deer pressure influence cedar regeneration and how cedar responds to a sudden reduction in browsing. We conducted regeneration surveys within and outside mapped deeryards both in the deer reduction zone and in a control zone. We performed dendrochronological analyses of cedar seedlings and saplings to quantify radial growth response to a reduction in browsing pressure. The results show that cedar basal area influences the abundance of small seedlings but that the effect of browsing becomes dominant for seedlings taller than 50 cm. Cedar growth responds to a reduction in browsing, but a two-year period was not sufficient to translate into changes in regeneration structure. The duration of the windows of opportunity at low browsing pressure required for cedar to reach a safe height remains to be determined. However, canopy openness had a significant influence on growth, suggesting that silvicultural measures could be taken to shorten the period of vulnerability to deer browsing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between Ungulates and Forest Ecosystems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop