Please login first
Seasonal variation of wild ungulates abundance in a hunting ban beech forest. The case study of Amiata Mountain - Central Italy
* , , , , , , *
1  Department of Agricultural and Forest Science, University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy


Several studies focused on the impact of ungulates on agricultural systems but the magnitude of their antagonistic role in forest renovation dynamics has long been underestimated and rarely considered. Ungulate species abundance is susceptible to seasonal variations according to their autecology, human management choices and territorial planning. Therefore, the appropriate choice of counting period is crucial. In this case study, we used camera traps to assess wild boar and roe deer seasonal abundance variations in a 600 hectares hunting ban beech forest (95.48%) in southern Tuscany managed for timber production. Camera-trapping sessions were performed in both early summer and autumn. The roe deer abundance index is higher in early summer, although statistically not significant, potentially affecting seedling survival. Inversely, wild boars significantly (F = 79.125; p = 0.001) increase their abundance at the local scale in autumn when, probably according to the ecology of fear, they temporary shift home range toward refuge areas. In autumn, high density of wild boars can reduce seed availability at local scale. Further analysis assessing the correlation between seasonal wild ungulates abundance and forest regeneration rate are in progress, based on data recorded within and around three fenced sample plots.

Keywords: camera trapping; CPUE; density estimation; REM; roe deer; wild ungulates; wild boar
Comments on this paper
Rodolfo Picchio
Session Chair comment
Dear Authors,

congratulation for this research, it represents a very interesting case study. When it comes to renovation dynamics, it is essential to take into consideration the interactions between forest species and wild ungulates. In fact, the potential impact of their feeding behaviour, along with seasonal abundance variations, plays sometimes a key-role in territorial planning by decision makers. This multi-year project carried out in a local productive context, provides important information concerning the assessment of wild ungulates, to develop a better approach in seedling protection and wildlife management. I hope to read about this research in some full papers soon.

Session Chair

Rodolfo Picchio
Andrea Amici
Thank you so much for the comment prof. Picchio. At this purpose I wish to stress that most of few recent studies specifically orientated to detect the link existing between wild ungulates abundance and forest regeneration, searching for sustainable threshold, refer to ungulates densities from estimates performed at the population scale (wide areas) with non-standardized protocols. Authors demonstrated, with modern methods (camera trapping), adequate experimental design and analysis, that ungulates abundance is subjected to marked seasonal variations at the local scale as probable result of both natural and anthropogenic factors.
A Amici