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Effects of Hurricane Lothar on the Population Dynamics of European Roe Deer

Jean-Michel Gaillard, Patrick Duncan, Daniel Delorme, Guy Van Laere, Nathalie Pettorelli, Daniel Maillard and Guy Renaud
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 67, No. 4 (Oct., 2003), pp. 767-773
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3802684
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3802684
Page Count: 7
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Effects of Hurricane Lothar on the Population Dynamics of European Roe Deer
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Abstract

Although extreme weather events-such as hurricanes-cause obvious changes in landscape and tree cover, the impact of such events on population dynamics of ungulates has not yet been measured accurately. We report a first quantification of the demographic consequences on roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) of the strongest hurricane (Lothar) that France has suffered in centuries. Based on long-term monitoring (>20 yr) of known-age individuals in 2 populations, we found that Lothar had no detectable negative effect on age- and sex-specific survival rates, except perhaps for old females. Likewise, although Lothar occurred during the time in the roe deer reproductive cycle when embryos are implanted, we found no evidence of a decrease in either the pregnancy rate or litter size. Our results show that roe deer populations are resistant to this kind of extreme weather event. The consequences for wildlife management are direct and important: (1) the hunting bag was low in 2000 due to restricted hunter access, and (2) the main effect of hurricane Lothar was to create openings within large forests that are good habitat for roe deer. We suggest that Lothar will paradoxally have a positive effect on roe deer population dynamics.

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