Theriologia Ukrainica
(former Proceedings of the Theriological School)

ISSN 2616-7379 (print) ISSN 2617-1120 (online)

2019 Vol. 17 Contents of volume >>>

download pdfNykonenko, A. Impact of the plant cover on patterns of European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) bed-sites distribution. Theriologia Ukrainica. 2019. Vol. 17: 80-87.



Impact of the plant cover on patterns of European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) bed-sites distribution


Nykonenko, A.


Oles Honchar Dnipro National University (Dnipro, Ukraine)


Theriologia Ukrainica. 2019. Vol. 17: 80-87.




Ukrainian, with English summary, titles of tables, captures to figs, and references


Research on hoofed mammal species such as the roe deer is of great importance for scientific-based biodiversity conservation actions and population management. Animal ecology studies have fundamental significance for the development of protected areas. The roe deer is a convenient model object for studying population ecology of ungulates by revealing adaptations to the environment and determining the spatial structure of populations. The aim of the present work is to describe the ecological patterns of bed-site selection by the European roe deer in natural forest biotopes located in the Dnipro-Oril Nature Reserve, steppe zone of Ukraine. European roe deer bed-sites were counted during all three autumn months in 2017. Tree and shrub species within a radius of 3.6 m around a bed-site (n = 87) were determined. Duff depth and grass cover height around to the bed-sites were measured. The research was conducted in three different types of ecosystems: pine forest, oak forest, and locust plantations. Shrubs create visual protection of bed-sites in oak forests, while in pine forests visual protection is provided by high grass. Roe deer select places for beds mostly at a distance of 1.53.0 m from trees and shrubs, although they may use sites for rest either closer to the plants (2030 cm) or at a distance more than 3.55.0 m. The average distance to the nearest tree exceeds that to shrubs. Duff depth of 1.54.5 cm and grass height of 1075 cm were found right around the bed-sites. We noticed several signs of foraging near the bed-sites, but the tendency of separating places for feeding and rest was demonstrated. Selection of resting sites is influenced by a set of indices of trees and shrubs as well as by grass and other objects providing visual protection. At the same time, the roe deer are prone to have visual control over the surroundings from their bed-sites. The index of environmental protection is calculated as a distance on which the bed-site disappears in an observers field of view from all four cardinal directions. This index is 3.7 m on average and varies in different biotopes: 4.1 m in pine forest, 2.8 m in oak forest, and 3.6 m in locust plantations. Trees and shrubs have the best protection properties, while grass cover hides the bed-sites at greater distances. Biodiversity conservation managers should be aware of environmental characteristics required for the species existence. Studying habitat selection patterns of animals allows conservation and creation of favorable ecosystems.


apreolus apreolus, vegetation, defensive behavior, habitat selection, Dnipro region.



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