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The Effects of Density-Dependent Resource Limitations on the Demography of Wild Reindeer

T. Skogland
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 54, No. 2 (Jun., 1985), pp. 359-374
DOI: 10.2307/4484
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4484
Page Count: 16
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The Effects of Density-Dependent Resource Limitations on the Demography of Wild Reindeer
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Abstract

(1) The population dynamics of eight wild reindeer herds in Norway, including the high arctic, were studied in relation to food abundance and population density. (2) Density-dependent effects were manifested through winter food limitation. (3) With increasing densities, density-independent factors such as severe weather had additional effects on recruitment, with consequences for population stability. (4) The density effect took the form of decreased juvenile survival, while adult survival in the most abundant and reproductive age classes was not affected. (5) At high density, subadult fecundity fell below the threshold body size for maturity. (6) The fecundity of adults was not affected by density. This finding accords with those made for other large nomadic rather than sedentary ungulates. (7) Density-dependent food limitation was most apparent at high population density, which conforms with the predictions of density-dependent life history models for large mammals.

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