The ecology of roe deer Capreolus capreolus and Reeves’ muntjac Muntiacus reevesi on a lowland lime wood complex

Woodrow, Edmund (2019) The ecology of roe deer Capreolus capreolus and Reeves’ muntjac Muntiacus reevesi on a lowland lime wood complex. Masters thesis, University of Lincoln.

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The ecology of roe deer Capreolus capreolus and Reeves’ muntjac Muntiacus reevesi on a lowland lime wood complex
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Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
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Abstract

This thesis aims to understand the current status of deer in the Lincolnshire Limewoods. The Lincolnshire Limewoods are a nationally significant complex of ancient woodlands which boasts the largest concentration of small leaved lime (Tilia cordata) in the UK. Current work in the Limewoods involves regeneration, coppicing and the creation of corridors to join fragmented woods. Deer are the UK's largest herbivores and their populations are on the rise. They are widely regarded as a threat to biodiversity and a hinderance to conservation efforts. Yet, they are an important part of Britain’s ecological history and relatively little is known about them in lime woodland; a woodland that was once dominant throughout all of lowland Britain.

We calculated the population densities of different deer species across a range of woodlands that form part of this complex. We analysed how seasonal change and ecological factors in the woodlands affect deer spatial distribution, and along with the synthesis of other studies, we attempted to explain their relative densities and factors associated with. We analysed the diet of the deer in these woodlands by micro-histological techniques and aimed to understand the broad composition of their diets. We then looked for seasonal and density dependant factors that might influence the targeted plant groups.

Roe deer and Reeves’ muntjac were found at varying densities across different woodland sites, including some that were perceived as high. We found seasonal change of importance to different ecological features within the woodlands affecting their spatial distribution. We suggest this is largely due to food resourcing, cover for protection or both. Bramble is shown to be a major constituent of roe deer and Reeves’ muntjac diet, even more so at higher densities. We concluded by summarising our findings of deer and suggest ways forward with management strategies for the future conservation of the Lincolnshire Limewoods.

Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:47509
Deposited On:08 Dec 2021 14:06

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