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Wildlife & Fisheries Conservation
Master of Science (M.S.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
moose, status, homerange, movement, Massachusetts, habitat
Moose (Alces alces) have been re-established in much of the historic range in the northeastern United States. Recently the southern edge of the species ranges has been extended southward into southern New England and northern New York from established populations in northern New England. The southern expansion raised questions as to the ability of this northern species to cope with higher temperatures, areas densely populated by humans, and different forest types further south. In light of these recent developments, we conducted a literature search on moose in the northeastern United States and distributed a questionnaire and conducted phone interviews with biologists responsible for moose management across the region to determine the status and management of moose in New England and New York. Furthermore, in 2006 we initiated a study on the home ranges, movements, and habitat use of moose in Massachusetts. We captured and collared moose with Global Positioning System (GPS) collars to track their movements in the Commonwealth. The surveys and interviews with the state biologists revealed that moose populations appeared to be stabilizing in southern New England. However, the moose population continued to grow in northern New York. Moose populations in northern New England were managed with an annual fall harvest, but moose hunting was not allowed in southern New England or New York. Throughout the region moose vehicle collisions were a major concern (>1,000 occur each year) including several that resulted in human fatalities. The collaring study has revealed the importance of maintaining a variety of forest cover types, age classes, and wetland habitats to meet the seasonal needs of moose, including early successional habitats created by logging that appear to be important for moose. Mean home range sizes were 64.9 km2 (SE = 12.9) and 73.3 km2 (SE = 9.4), respectively, for females and males in central Massachusetts, and 164.5 km2 (SE = 62.6) for males in western Massachusetts. Moose often interacted with roads and human development on the uplands, but used less developed areas of their home ranges. This demonstrates the importance of preserving the integrity and connectivity of the forested landscape of Massachusetts.
Advisor(s) or Committee Chair