Skip to Main Content
Elevational range shifts in four mountain ungulate species from the Swiss AlpsAuthor(s): Ulf Büntgen; Lucie Greuter; Kurt Bollmann; Hannes Jenny; Andrew Liebhold; J. Diego Galván; Nils C. Stenseth; Carrie Andrew; Atle Mysterud
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
Download Publication (2.0 MB)
DescriptionWarming-induced range shifts along elevational and latitudinal gradients have been observed in several species from various taxa. The mobility and behavioral plasticity of large endothermic mammals, however, complicate the detection of climatic effects on their spatial distributions. Here, we analyzed 230,565 hunting locations of the four most abundant ungulate species in the European Alps: ibex, chamois, red deer, and roe deer. Year-to-year and inter-decadal range shifts toward higher elevations in Switzerland coincided with warmer, snow-free, and thus more favorable autumn conditions in the same area. The average harvest elevation of ibex, chamois, and red deer significantly increased between 1991 and 2013. Although this trend is anticipated to continue, behavioral plasticity may allow the Alpine ibex and other mountain ungulates to buffer some of the associated consequences of climate change. Our results demonstrate the utility of well-replicated hunting archives to supplement shorter but more precise monitoring data. This study also provides independent evidence of animal range shifts in response to environmental change at interannual and multi-decadal time-scales.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, email@example.com if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationBüntgen, Ulf; Greuter, Lucie; Bollmann, Kurt; Jenny, Hannes; Liebhold, Andrew; Galván, J. Diego; Stenseth, Nils C.; Andrew, Carrie; Mysterud, Atle. 2017. Elevational range shifts in four mountain ungulate species from the Swiss Alps. Ecosphere. 8(4): e01761. 15 p. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.1761.
Keywordsanimal ecology, behavioral plasticity, climate change, elevational gradient, European Alps, hunting inventory, range shifts
- Uniting ecological and genetic data for the conservation of wild ibex
- Influences of hunting on the behavior of white-tailed deer: implications for conservation of the Florida panther
- Nutritional-landscape models link habitat use to condition of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus)
XML: View XML