The disappearance of muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) pellet groups in a pine forest of lowland England

Mahmoud R. Hemami, Paul M. Dolman

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Reliable knowledge of the disappearance rate of faecal pellets is essential for converting pellet density to deer density when using standing-crop pellet-group counts. Disappearance of muntjac and roe deer pellet groups was monitored in four growth stages of a pine forest of lowland England over a 15-month period. Time to disappearance of the pellet groups (days) of both species significantly differed between habitats and months; it was shorter in late summer to early autumn and in habitats with more ground vegetation. Muntjac pellet groups disappeared more quickly than roe deer pellet groups. Time to disappearance of roe deer pellet groups was negatively correlated with air and grass temperature in pre-thicket and pre-fell habitats, while time to disappearance of muntjac pellet groups was negatively correlated with frequency of rainfall and positively correlated with the run of wind (air passage over a site within a 24-h period measured in km) in pre-thicket habitats. It is the time of the standing-crop pellet-group counts and the disappearance rate of pellet groups deposited in different months and habitats that determine the appropriate method for conversion of pellet-group density to deer density.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Wildlife Research
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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