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.
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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.