UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Ecological features of moose Alces alces andersoni winter habitat in the boreal white and black spruce zone of northeastern British Columbia Silver, Roderick Sterling


A study of the dispersion patterns of moose in winter habitats was conducted from June 1972 to May 1974 in a wildlife reserve in northeastern British Columbia. Major factors affecting the patterns were examined in an attempt to determine their relative importance. Data from eight representative vegetation plots indicated productive browse in deciduous forests and open habitats. In coniferous forest there was very little shrub development. Moose were well adapted to low winter temperatures which often followed warm winter temperatures associated with Chinook winds. Snow cover rarely exceeded 76 cm. Canopies of mature coniferous forest profoundly influenced the depth of snow on the ground, but, because the snow depth in open areas was not restrictive, moose did not extensively use coniferous forest. Willow, aspen and bog birch were the most important forage species. Rumen analyses and trailing methods supported these observations. Instances of moose cratering (pawing) and debarking were observed. Winter forages (probably a limited sample) were very low in crude protein. Open shrubland, agricultural land, and deciduous forest were preferred winter habitat. Several variables, quantified during ground and aerial observations, were used in a model to predict moose dispersion, but the model was applied with limited success. Future management of habitat for moose should include logging and prescribed burning to enhance the forage resource. The purchase of alienated lands to ensure control of the land base is also recommended.

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