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See detailOutils pour concilier grande faune et sylviculture. L'écorcement de cerfs en peuplements résineux
Candaele, Romain ULiege

Conference given outside the academic context (2019)

Bark stripping caused by Red deer is a major economic issue for forest owners and wood transformation sector. Norway spruce is the most abundant tree specie in Wallonia (southern Belgium), and is ... [more ▼]

Bark stripping caused by Red deer is a major economic issue for forest owners and wood transformation sector. Norway spruce is the most abundant tree specie in Wallonia (southern Belgium), and is particularly sensitive to bark stripping and to resulting wood decay. Occurrence of new damages varies strongly between years and sites. Causes of these variations should be better understood to avoid high proportions of damaged trees. Bark stripping occurrence is influenced by numerous factors, often inter-correlated and highly changing in space and time. Dense stands combine good thermic and security cover, poor feeding resources and trees with thinner bark and lighter branches, what could explain high sensitivity of spruce to bark stripping, especially during winters with important snow cover synonyms of temporary food scarcity. Strategies to avoid important damages are unclear since relative importance of forest characteristics and deer abundance is variable between studies. We modeled the yearly proportion of bark stripped Norway spruces based on a 13 years yearly inventory representing 2, 570 km² of forest with a 4 hectares spatial resolution and a half year temporal resolution. That large dataset covered contrasted environmental conditions and allowed to consider a wide number of influent factors concurrently, minimizing misinterpretation risk. We modeled bark stripping probability at the sampling unit scale allowing then to aggregate the evaluation at management area level with a goodness of fit of 42% pseudo R². Our model clearly evidence red deer abundance as the main bark stripping occurence driver. Factors shaping red deer distribution and food abundance such as stand age, season, distance from human infrastructures, distance from roads and number of froze days had also a strong effect on damage occurrence. Since we observed a weak effect of crown closure around stand on damage probability and a negative effect of coniferous proportion around stand, we confirm the combination of cover quality, scarce herbaceous layer and thin bark to be responsible of young coniferous stand sensitivity to bark stripping. Reducing coniferous proportion is not a way to reduce damage occurrence in remnant stands. Favoring herbaceous layer around stand by stronger thinning could only have a moderate effect since red deer would continue to select coniferous stands and is conflicting with wood quality. Deer abundance regulation is thus the main way to modulate damage intensity. We also showed how our model can be used to monitor population changes in time at hunting district scale. [less ▲]

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See detailDiagnostic de l'équilibre forêt-grande faune sauvage grâce aux inventaires d'écorcement
Candaele, Romain ULiege

Article for general public (2019)

Bark stripping damages on Norway spruces are an important economic issue, in particular in Wallonia (southern Belgium) where it is the main tree specie, with 12% of standing volume damaged. As Norway ... [more ▼]

Bark stripping damages on Norway spruces are an important economic issue, in particular in Wallonia (southern Belgium) where it is the main tree specie, with 12% of standing volume damaged. As Norway spruces are sensitive to wood decay when debarked, financial losses of standing volume of a damaged standing spruce is approximately 30% of the tree value. Based on a systematic inventory measured since 2004 at regional scale, we could model probability of bark stripping occurrence on contrasted environmental conditions, with consideration of numerous factors. We showed that bark stripping probability is mainly driven by red deer abundance, but also influenced by numerous factors shaping red deer spatial distribution, food resource availability, and stand sensitivity. The adjusted model allows to correct bark stripping rates variations caused to climate changes what helps to understand changes caused by other factors, in particular deer abundance. [less ▲]

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See detailDiagnostic de l'équilibre forêt-grande faune grâce aux enclos-exclos
Candaele, Romain ULiege

Article for general public (2019)

Wild ungulates strongly affect forest regeneration and can alter forest species composition and functioning. Their impact is difficult to measure since forest regeneration is also affected by a multitude ... [more ▼]

Wild ungulates strongly affect forest regeneration and can alter forest species composition and functioning. Their impact is difficult to measure since forest regeneration is also affected by a multitude of other factors such as light, soil characteristics or competition between species in close interaction and difficult to quantify. Enclosures-exclosures experiments allow isolating the effect of ungulates from other factors. Vegetation changes can be observed without ungulate impact (in enclosures) and compared to vegetation changes in natural conditions (exclosures). Forty-eight enclosures-exclosures pairs where monitored during 4 years in a beech forest of southern Belgium. They were installed in small forest gaps favorable for seedlings and sapling development. Beech and spruce Saplings were the most abundant in the two compartments. Growth of all species was higher in enclosures than in exclosures. Species with the most important growth were beech and spruces whereas all other species nearly didn’t grew in exclosures. In enclosures, growth of birch and willow was highly faster than other species. Oaks had the slowest growth but it was greater than 5 centimeters by year in more than half of the enclosures whereas it was null in more than half of the cases in exclosures when present. These results highlight the difficulty to regenerate a diversified forest due to ungulates in the forest of Florenville. Similar analysis will soon be performed on a network of 900 pairs of enclosures-exclosures installed and monitored since 2016 by the DEMNA (Département d’étude du milieu naturel et agricole), DNF (Division nature et forêt) and SRFB (Société royale forestière de Belgique) and should allow to asses impact of ungulates on regeneration at a regional scale. [less ▲]

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