Journal Article Impact of anthropogenic disturbance on the density and activity pattern of deer evaluated with respect to spatial scale-dependency

Agetsuma, Naoki  ,  Koda, Ryosuke  ,  Tsujino, Riyou  ,  Agetsuma-Yanagihara, Yoshimi

This study examined the influence of anthropogenic disturbance (agriculture, forestry, hunting and feral domestic dogs) on the population density and daily activity pattern of deer. We quantified the effects of land use (broad-leaved forest, mixed coniferous/broad-leaved forest, natural grassland, subalpine vegetation, forestry area, and agricultural land), along with hunting pressure, and densities of feral domestic dogs and wild macaques on deer. The effects of land use were analyzed at various spatial scales and a model selection procedure (generalized mixed model) was used to examine the effects of factors on density and daily activity pattern of deer at each spatial scale. The combinations of influential factors differed between density and daily activity pattern and changed with spatial scale. The spatial scale with the smallest Akaike's Information Criterion value was defined as the effective spatial scale for each of density and daily activity pattern. Deer density was affected positively by the percentage of area covered by broad-leaved forest, natural grassland and macaque density, and negatively by percentage of area covered by agricultural land and mixed forest at the effective spatial scales. For the daily activity pattern of deer, agricultural land, forestry area, natural grassland, subalpine vegetation and dog density reduced diurnal and increased nocturnal activity. Crepuscular activity increased with hunting pressure and subalpine vegetation, and decreased with agricultural land. Thus, daily activity pattern was sensitive to more types of anthropogenic disturbance than density. Detecting the appropriate spatial scales at which significant anthropogenic disturbance should be managed is essential for effective wildlife conservation.

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