Evaluating the role of summer forage quality and quantity on cow moose condition, fecundity, and survival in WMU 3-18
Moose populations in the Thompson-Okanagan region have declined at an alarming rate (up to 90%) in the past 25 years. The moose population decline corresponds with a dramatic increase in forestry cut blocks for salvage logging after mountain pine beetle infestation. Plants in cut blocks grow in full sunlight and have more energy to create compounds that protect them from being eaten by herbivores and reduce their nutritional quality. We will compare the nutritional quality of plants growing in and out of cut blocks to see if cut blocks provide less nutrition for moose. We will also determine whether use of cut blocks by female moose affects their health, pregnancy rates, and survival. We anticipate our work will help to understand the moose population decline and inform management activities to curb it.