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New Harvard Forest Publication: Moose in Southern New England

February 1, 2010
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After being extirpated from southern New England during the colonial period, moose have recently returned, establishing an important new disturbance to the region's temperate forests. In the first publication of moose foraging ecology in southern New England, Harvard Forest researchers Ed Faison, David Foster, and Glenn Motzkin along with US Fish and Wildlife biologist, John McDonald quantify moose foraging selectivity and intensity on tree species in relation to habitat features in Central Massachusetts. Red maple and hemlock were disproportionately browsed by moose, and white pine was avoided. Foraging intensity correlated positively with elevation and distance to development and negatively with time since forest harvest. Together, these results suggest that moose may interact with recent forest harvesting to contribute to a decline in red maple and hemlock and an increase in white pine in intensively browsed patches. Nonetheless, rising temperatures and sprawling development may increasingly restrict suitable moose habitat.

Faison, E. K., G. Motzkin, D. R. Foster, and J. E. McDonald. 2010. Moose foraging in the temperate forests of southern New England. Northeastern Naturalist. In press. 

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