How does landscape structure affect Sika deer (Cervus nippon) distribution in lowland heath mosaics?
Start date: 18 April 2009
Existing research suggests that the geographical distribution of Sika deer (Cervus nippon) populations in Britain appears to correlate with areas containing not only improved pasture but also coniferous plantations and heathland. However, relatively little is known about the degree in which the proximity of improved pasture and woodland affects the use of heathland patches by Sika deer. As lowland heaths are priority conservation areas due to their status as an internationally rare and declining ecosystem, it is crucial to better understand the degree of importance of the landscape characteristics affecting wild herbivores habitat selection and distribution in such ecosystems. During this talk, we will examine how different landscape structure characteristics such as patch size, shape and connectivity between resource patches affect Sika deer distribution and habitat use in lowland heath mosaics. These results will then be discussed in terms of the conservation and management of wild herbivores such as Sika deer.