Terra Nova boxes out moose to save the trees

August 27, 2018

By: The Working Forest Staff

Terra Nova National Park is hoping hundreds of metres of fencing will protect stunted trees from hungry moose.

According to a report by the CBC, the park has constructed an eight-hectare moose exclosure and has planted thousands of balsam fir seedlings inside, in an attempt to regenerate a forest in an open meadow that’s been hit hard by big moose appetites.

“When winter comes, and other vegetation goes away, moose will turn to trees for grazing,” explained Janet Feltham, an ecologist at Terra Nova National Park.

 According to Feltham, there are about 140 moose living in Terra Nova, and they’ll eat, on average, about 20 kilograms of vegetation each day.

Feltham said in surveys before 2011, Terra Nova staff found that up to 80 percent of trees in some areas were affected by eating.

Evidence of that grazing can be found in the trees that have managed to grow to a full size. In those, Feltham said, only branches at the very top of the tree are grown, and others further down have been eaten away by moose.

“You get these really cool but eerie-shaped trees that aren’t quite normal,” she said.

The newly constructed fence will keep moose out, but let other small animals in. Feltham said it should make a difference, and park staff hope in 15 to 20 years there will be a new balsam fir forest.

 

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