We analyzed the relation between early winter distribution and density of female moose (Alces alces L.) and habitat heterogeneity in interior Alaska. We tested for effects of vegetation type, topography, distance to rivers and towns, occurrence and timing of fire, and landscape metrics. A spatial linear model was used to analyze effects of independent variables organized at multiple scales. Because densities of moose vary widely as a result of differences in management and other factors, a spatial response surface of the log of moose density was fit to remove large-scale effects. The analysis revealed that the densest populations of moose occurred closer to towns, at moderate elevations, near rivers, and in areas where fire occurred between 11 and 30 years ago. Furthermore, moose tended to occur in areas with large compact patches of varied habitat and avoided variable terrain and nonvegetated areas. Relationships of most variables with moose density occurred at or below 34 km2, suggesting that moose respond to environmental variables within a few kilometres of their location. The spatial model of density of moose developed in this study represents an important application for effective monitoring and management of moose in the boreal forest. ?? 2005 NRC.
Additional publication details
Distribution and density of moose in relation to landscape characteristics: Effects of scale