Climate, tree masting and spatial behaviour in wild boar (Sus scrofa L.): insight from a long-term study

Climate factors affect seed biomass production which in turn influences autumn wild boar spatial behaviour. Adaptive management strategies require an understanding of both masting and its influence on the behaviour of pulsed resource consumers like wild boar.

Context Pulsed resources ecosystem could be strongly affected by climate. Disantangling the role of climate on mast seeding allow to understand a seed consumer spatial behaviour to design proper wildlife and forest management strategies.
Aims We investigated the relationship between mast seeding and climatic variables and we evaluated the influence of mast seeding on wild boar home range dynamics.
Methods We analysed mast seeding as seed biomass production of three broadleaf tree species (Fagus sylvatica L., Quercus cerris L., Castanea sativa Mill.) in the northern Apennines. Next, we explored which climatic variables affected tree masting patterns and finally we tested the effect of both climate and seed biomass production on wild boar home range size.
Results Seed biomass production is partially regulated by climate; high precipitation in spring of the current year positively affects seed biomass production while summer precipitation of previous year has an opposite effect. Wild boar home range size is negatively correlated to seed biomass production, and the climate only partially contributes to determine wild boar spatial behaviour.
Conclusion Climate factors influence mast seeding, and the negative correlation between wild boar home range and mast seeding should be taken into account for designing integrated, proactive hunting management.

Masting, Mast seeding, Seed consumer, Deciduous forests, Hunting management, Apennine forests

Bisi, F., Chirichella, R., Chianucci, F. et al. Annals of Forest Science (2018) 75: 46.

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