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Approximation of K carrying capacity for moose in eastern Quebec

Crête, Michel
Canadian journal of zoology 1989 v.67 no.2 pp. 373-380
Abies balsamea, Alces alces, adults, branches, carrying capacity, forage, forage production, habitats, summer, telemetry, winter, Quebec
Estimation of moose density ranged between 18 and 20 animals/10 km² in a 120-km² boreal area of eastern Quebec that has been excluded from hunting for many decades. Moose were sedentary; 81% of telemetry locations of 12 adults (6 of each sex) that were captured in the area were within the block boundary. Use of winter forage was low for balsam fir, but variable and relatively high (29%) for deciduous twigs. When pooling the present results with comparable studies done elsewhere in Quebec, a significant positive linear relationship was found between percent deciduous browse removal and moose density. Annual summer and winter forage production of deciduous species was low in the study area in comparison with other areas in Quebec; however, the situation was the reverse for balsam fir. The K carrying capacity was estimated to exceed 20 moose/10 km² when considering actual density in the study area. The same conclusion was reached by comparing forage consumption rate by moose for the whole winter and the annual production of 14 kg∙ha⁻¹ of deciduous twigs. Daily forage needs versus annual production led to an unrealistic estimate of the K carrying capacity when also taking into account the annual production of balsam fir. Prime moose habitats in eastern North America probably possess comparable or higher K carrying capacities.