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      Wolf reintroduction to Scotland: public attitudes and consequences for red deer management

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      Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
      The Royal Society

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          The influence of top-down, bottom-up and abiotic factors on the moose (Alces alces) population of Isle Royale

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            Localized deer absence leads to tick amplification.

            Deer support high tick intensities, perpetuating tick populations, but they do not support tick-borne pathogen transmission, so are dilution hosts. We test the hypothesis that absence of deer (loss of a dilution host) will result in either an increase or a reduction in tick density, and that the outcome is scale dependent. We use a complementary methodological approach starting with meta-analysis, followed up by a field experiment. Meta-analysis indicated that larger deer exclosures reduce questing (host-seeking) tick density, but as the exclosure becomes smaller (<2.5 ha) the questing tick density is increased (amplified). To determine the consequences for tick-borne pathogen transmission we carried out a field experiment, comparing the intensity of ticks that fed on hosts competent for tickborne pathogen transmission (rodents) in two small (<1 ha) deer exclosures and their replicated controls. Intensity of larval ticks on rodents was not significantly different between treatments, but nymph intensity, the tick stage responsible for tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) transmission, was higher in deer exclosures. TBE seropositive rodents were found in a deer exclosure but not in the controls. We propose that localized absence of deer (loss of a dilution host) increases tick feeding on rodents, leading to the potential for tick-borne disease hotspots.
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              Red deer stocks in the Highlands of Scotland.

              Grazing by hill sheep and red deer prevents the regeneration of woodland in many parts of the Scottish Highlands and has also led to extensive loss of heather cover. Conservation bodies claim that there has been a rapid rise in Highland deer numbers caused by inadequate management and that these need to be drastically reduced. Here we show that the recent increase in red deer stocks has probably been overestimated and suggest that the gradual rise in numbers since 1970 may be a consequence of a reduction in sheep stocks and of changes in winter weather, rather than of a reduction in culling rate. Although there would be environmental benefits in reducing deer numbers, there is an equal need to reduce the numbers of hill sheep in many parts of the Highlands.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
                Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
                The Royal Society
                0962-8452
                1471-2954
                April 07 2007
                April 07 2007
                : 274
                : 1612
                : 995-1003
                Article
                10.1098/rspb.2006.0369
                2141678
                17264063
                ba88eb9a-c557-4542-8492-79af28503efa
                © 2007
                History

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