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Estimating the growth of a newly established moose population using reproductive value

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Estimating the population growth rate and environmental stochasticity of long-lived species is difficult because annual variation in population size is influenced by temporal autocorrelations caused by fluctuations in the age-structure. Here we use the dynamics of the reproductive value to estimate the long-term growth rate s and the environmental variance of a moose population that recently colonized the island of Vega in northern Norway. We show that the population growth rate was high (ŝ=0.26). The major stochastic influences on the population dynamics were due to demographic stochasticity, whereas the environmental variance was not significantly different from 0. This supports the suggestion that population growth rates of polytocous ungulates are high, and that demographic stochasticity must be assessed when estimating the growth of small ungulate populations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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