Kjøstvedt, J.H., Mysterud, A. & Østbye, E. 1998: Roe deer Capreolus capreolus use of agricultural crops during winter in the Lier valley, Norway. - Wildl. Biol. 4: 23-31.
The quality of common agricultural crops relative to natural plants was measured and the spatial feeding pattern of roe deer Capreolus capreolus on strawberry Fragaria ananassa fields in the Lier valley, southeastern Norway, were investigated during a winter (1992/93) with shallow snow depth. Strawberry plants were easily digestible, had a high mineral content and were readily harvested by roe deer. Distance to the nearest houses and forest edge affected the spatial pattern of feeding intensity differently when considered at between-field or within-field selection level. Distance to the forest edge or houses did not seem to affect choice of fields. Distance to the forest edge had no effect on feeding intensity within fields when fields were situated far from houses, but had a significant effect when fields were close to houses. When fields were far from the forest edge but close to houses, the distance to the houses but not to the forest edge affected within-field use by roe deer. Hence, roe deer seem to assess risk factors (distance to houses) and vary their response to the forest edge accordingly.
Key words: agricultural crops, edge, foraging, plant quality, roe deer
Jan Helge Kjøstvedt, N-4770 Høvåg, Norway
Atle Mysterud & Eivind Østbye, Department of Biology, Division of Zoology, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1050 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received 7 April 1997, accepted 16 October 1997
Associate Editor: Jean-Michel Gaillard