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Analysis of the human footprint on reindeer summer habitat. Using habitat selection modeling to assess anthropogenic drivers of habitat loss in Norwegian wild mountain reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus)

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Lelotte, Lucie ULiège
Promotor(s) : Vanderpoorten, Alain ULiège ; Van Moorter, Bram
Date of defense : 30-Aug-2021 • Permalink : http://hdl.handle.net/2268.2/12607
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Title : Analysis of the human footprint on reindeer summer habitat. Using habitat selection modeling to assess anthropogenic drivers of habitat loss in Norwegian wild mountain reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus)
Translated title : [fr] Analyse de l'empreinte humaine sur l'habitat estival du renne : Utilisation de la modélisation de sélection de l'habitat pour évaluer les facteurs anthropiques de la perte d'habitat chez le renne sauvage des montagnes norvégiennes (Rangifer tarandus tarandus).
Author : Lelotte, Lucie ULiège
Date of defense  : 30-Aug-2021
Advisor(s) : Vanderpoorten, Alain ULiège
Van Moorter, Bram 
Committee's member(s) : Delcourt, Johann ULiège
Michaux, Johan ULiège
Mouton, Alice ULiège
Language : English
Number of pages : 76
Keywords : [en] Habitat selection
[en] Human disturbance
[en] Zone of influence
[en] Habitat loss
[en] Resource selection function
[en] Cumulative effect
[en] Human footprint
[en] Wild reindeer
[en] Rangifer tarandus
Discipline(s) : Life sciences > Environmental sciences & ecology
Research unit : Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
Target public : Researchers
Professionals of domain
Student
General public
Institution(s) : Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique
Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Trondheim, Norway
Degree: Master en biologie des organismes et écologie, à finalité spécialisée en biologie de la conservation : biodiversité et gestion
Faculty: Master thesis of the Faculté des Sciences

Abstract

[en] 1) Of particular importance to wildlife conservation and mitigation of the current biodiversity crisis are questions of habitat loss and degradation. In this context, disturbance studies have sought to implement new methods for studying wildlife populations in relation to their environment when subjected to the human footprint. Habitat selection models have proven to be powerful tools for quantifying the impact of human disturbances on wildlife habitat and estimating disturbance parameters influencing spatial and temporal distribution of a species from occurrence data. 2) During the last century, Norway has experienced fast-paced infrastructure development that has resulted in the massive loss of mountain wilderness. In those same mountains live the last remaining populations of wild mountain reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) in Europe. With pervasive human influence and multiple claims placed on Norwegian mountains, seasonal habitat loss is currently suggested as the main threat for wild reindeer in southern Norway. Accordingly, the Norwegian Government is investing considerable resources into habitat loss assessment, as a critical step to determine if these areas will be able to support viable population units in the future. 3) With the purpose to unravel and quantify the drivers of anthropogenic habitat loss in wild reindeer summer habitat, the present research investigated reindeer habitat use on summer ranges in relation to the human footprint in southern Norway, using existing resource selection functions (RSFs), developed for wild reindeer, and GPS data. Overall, human disturbances were found to induce substantial habitat loss (> 50%) in wild reindeer summer ranges. However, differences could be noted between herds, both in relation to the uneven spatial distribution of the human footprint and the main drivers of anthropogenic habitat loss, which were found to vary between reindeer areas. For the study area as a whole, highest avoidance levels during summertime were induced by the grazing animals from domestic livestock, primarily, as well as by houses of the domestic sector, low traffic summer roads and hiking trails. 4) The present human footprint analysis points out the need for prioritized management and targeted mitigation of herd-specific disturbance sources in wild reindeer ranges. Moreover, it provides key insights for the future prevention of human-reindeer conflicts and will hopefully help to balance wild reindeer conservation with anthropogenic development. This study and the approach it proposes may provide a valuable framework for quantifying the impacts of the human footprint in further biodiversity components, and thus help tackle the loss of natural habitats.


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Author

  • Lelotte, Lucie ULiège Université de Liège > Master biol. orga. & écol., fin.

Promotor(s)

Committee's member(s)

  • Delcourt, Johann ULiège Université de Liège - ULiège > Département de Biologie, Ecologie et Evolution > Département de Biologie, Ecologie et Evolution
    ORBi View his publications on ORBi
  • Michaux, Johan ULiège Université de Liège - ULiège > Département des sciences de la vie > Laboratoire de génétique de la conservation
    ORBi View his publications on ORBi
  • Mouton, Alice ULiège Université de Liège - ULiège > Département des sciences de la vie > Laboratoire de génétique de la conservation
    ORBi View his publications on ORBi
  • Total number of views 172
  • Total number of downloads 258










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