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Dynamiques spatio-temporelles des ressources alimentaires et des activités humaines : impacts sur la sélection d'habitat d'un grand herbivore de montagne

Abstract : These last decades, large herbivores population and outdoor human activities increased tremendously leading to the emergence of new challenges for the management of wild species and recreational activities, which need to reconcile conservation goals and tourist development. In order to face these challenges, wildlife managers need to better understand behavioral choice of animal that lead to their spatial distribution and how these behaviors are influenced by human activities. Based on chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) as a study case, the aim of this PhD is to enhance our knowledge of spatial behavioral of large herbivores, on one hand by understanding individual selection for food resources according to resource spatial heterogeneity and their temporal dynamics, and on the other hand, by assessing the impact of human outdoor recreational activities on spatial behavior. We first modeled the foodscape of chamois and its seasonal variation by combining field data on vegetation and animal diet with remote sensing data. Then, based on a 10 years dataset of monitoring of >100 animals marked with GPS collars in the Game and Wildlife Reserve of the “massif des Bauges”, we demonstrated chamois adjusted their criteria for spatial selection through time according to the temporal evolution of their forage traits (quality and quantity), accounting notably whether these traits were variable or limiting. This led us to reevaluate the framework of two classical hypotheses in studies of herbivore spatial ecology, the “Forage Maturation Hypothesis” and the emergence of a functional response in habitat selection. One newness in our work is to have accounted for the gregariousness of this species, which allowed us to unveil that socio-spatial structure of the population induced local variation in the habitat selection process, with marked consequences on individual demographic performances. This challenges the idea that individuals should redistribute in space within a population according to available resources, probably because of the importance of social relationships and costs and risks associated with dispersal. Second, we investigated the response of chamois to disturbances resulting from 3 outdoor activities. We assessed the spatial use of recreationists by ditributing GPS-tracker from which we defined landscape of disturbance to animal. Ski touring and hiking both impacted animal movements, resulting in supplementary energetic expenditures. On the other hand, hunting induced complex spatial responses in chamois that need further investigation, as the response to hunters could not be differentiated from responses to hikers who continue to be on site even during the hunting period. We conclude this work with proposals for a better long-term management of wildlife compatible with the practice of outdoor recreational activities.
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Antoine Duparc. Dynamiques spatio-temporelles des ressources alimentaires et des activités humaines : impacts sur la sélection d'habitat d'un grand herbivore de montagne. Biodiversité et Ecologie. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016GREAV018⟩. ⟨tel-01529843⟩

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